Scientists Find Potential Probiotic Treatment for SCTLD

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Researchers at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History have discovered a probiotic treatment for stony coral tissue loss disease (SCTLD). We’ve reported on the disease many times since its discovery in 2014 in Florida, including most recently that it has traveled as far south in the Caribbean as Curacao. The exact cause of SCTLD isn’t known, although pathogenic bacteria play a role in the disease, which quickly eats coral tissue away and has had devastating effects on over 20 species of hard corals.

Star corals, Montastraea cavernosa, are usually affected too, but the team discovered a couple of Star coral frags that weren’t withering away and dying like the others, so collected microbial samples from them. They counted 222 bacteria strains, 83 of which showed anti-bacterial, disease-resistant properties, but one named McH1-7, stood out. Could they fight fire with fire and use bacteria against the pathogenic bacteria in SCTLD?

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