Science Into Practice - Key mushroom issues tackled

Trichoderma aggressivum, brown cap mushroom disease and fungal diseases have been major problems for the mushroom industry.

Seventeen partners representing composters, growers, advisers, producer organisations and scientists from across Europe have worked together to reduce disease risk.

Research at the Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute and Teagasc confirmed that phase three compost fully colonised with Agaricus is susceptible to Trichoderma infection. Handling Trichoderma-infected phase three compost disperses the disease around units and cross contamination is likely to occur. Healthy Agaricus bisporus compost and that infected with Trichoderma was shown to produce different volatile metabolites at Wageningen University. This may offer an early-warning diagnostic system.

Viruses associated with the browning symptoms of brown cap mushroom disease were characterised and sequenced at East Malling Research and Teagasc. Outbreaks are linked to breakdowns in hygiene.

The most vulnerable times for infection are tunnel emptying, transport and shelf filling. Contaminated equipment or debris were the source of new infections. A molecular diagnostic test is in development.

Hygiene is the key method to prevent the major diseases. Procedures should be in place to avoid the build-up of contaminated debris and dust on surfaces and equipment. Monitoring is critical to confirm that hygiene procedures are working while early detection will help to contain and prevent significant outbreaks. Four fact sheets sharing the findings and best practice are available online at www.mushtv.eu.

For details on all AHDB Horticulture activity, see horticulture.ahdb.org.uk


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