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Microorganisms 2019, 7(2), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7020031

Valley Fever on the Rise—Searching for Microbial Antagonists to the Fungal Pathogen Coccidioides immitis

1
Department of Biology, California State University Bakersfield, 9001 Stockdale Highway, Bakersfield, CA 93311-1022, USA
2
Monterey County Health Department, 1270 Natividad, Salinas, CA 93906, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 November 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Microbiology)
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Abstract

The incidence of coccidioidomycosis, also known as Valley Fever, is increasing in the Southwestern United States and Mexico. Despite considerable efforts, a vaccine to protect humans from this disease is not forthcoming. The aim of this project was to isolate and phylogenetically compare bacterial species that could serve as biocontrol candidates to suppress the growth of Coccidioides immitis, the causative agent of coccidioidomycosis, in eroded soils or in areas close to human settlements that are being developed. Soil erosion in Coccidioides endemic areas is leading to substantial emissions of fugitive dust that can contain arthroconidia of the pathogen and thus it is becoming a health hazard. Natural microbial antagonists to C. immitis, that are adapted to arid desert soils could be used for biocontrol attempts to suppress the growth of the pathogen in situ to reduce the risk for humans and animals of contracting coccidioidomycosis. Bacteria were isolated from soil samples obtained near Bakersfield, California. Subsequently, pairwise challenge assays with bacterial pure cultures were initially performed against Uncinocarpus reesii, a non-pathogenic relative of C. immitis on media plates. Bacterial isolates that exhibited strongly antifungal properties were then re-challenged against C. immitis. Strongly anti-C. immitis bacterial isolates related to Bacillus subtilis and Streptomyces spp. were isolated, and their antifungal spectrum was investigated using a selection of environmental fungi. View Full-Text
Keywords: Coccidioides immitis; Valley Fever; biocontrol; microbial antagonists; challenge assays; arid soils Coccidioides immitis; Valley Fever; biocontrol; microbial antagonists; challenge assays; arid soils
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Lauer, A.; Baal, J.D.; Mendes, S.D.; Casimiro, K.N.; Passaglia, A.K.; Valenzuela, A.H.; Guibert, G. Valley Fever on the Rise—Searching for Microbial Antagonists to the Fungal Pathogen Coccidioides immitis. Microorganisms 2019, 7, 31.

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