Tracking amphibian pathogens using lateral-flow technology

Michael J. Dillon, Josephine R. Paris, Andrew E Bowkett, Michael J Bungard, Luke Harding, Ghislaine Sayers, Katie M Beckman, Michelle F O'Brien, Ruth L Cromie, Kieran Bates, Matthew C Fisher, Jamie R. Stevens, Christopher R. Thornton

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

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The fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) causes chytridiomycosis, a lethal epizootic disease of amphibians. Rapid identification of the pathogen and biosecurity is essential to prevent its spread, but current laboratory-based tests are time consuming and require specialist equipment. Here, we describe the generation of an IgM monoclonal antibody (mAb), 5C4, specific to Bd as well as the related salamander and newt pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). The mAb, which binds to a glycoprotein antigen present on the surface of zoospores, sporangia and zoosporangia, was used to develop a lateral-flow assay (LFA) for rapid (15 min) detection of the pathogens. The LFA detects known lineages of Bd and also Bsal, as well as the closely related fungus Homolaphlyctis polyrhiza, but does not detect a wide range of related and unrelated fungi and oomycetes likely to be present in amphibian habitats. When combined with a simple swabbing procedure, the LFA was 100% accurate in detecting the water-soluble 5C4 antigen present in skin, foot and pelvic samples from frogs, newts and salamanders naturally infected with Bd or Bsal. Our results demonstrate the potential of the portable LFA as a rapid qualitative assay for tracking these amphibian pathogens and as an adjunct test to nucleic acid-based detection methods.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - May 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventZoo and Wildlife Health Conference - Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 24 May 201727 May 2017


ConferenceZoo and Wildlife Health Conference
Internet address


  • lateral flow assay
  • Lateral Flow Immunoassay
  • immunoassay
  • chytrid fungus
  • fungal disease
  • chytridiomycosis
  • Batrachochytrium
  • infectious disease
  • emerging infectious disease
  • antibody
  • immunoglobulin


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  • Gold Award for research into rapid field tests

    Dillon, M. (Recipient), Bowkett, A. E. (Recipient), Harding, L. (Recipient), Stevens, J. R. (Recipient) & Thornton, C. R. (Recipient), Nov 2017

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

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