Science Into Practice - Mushroom disease control

Sporgon (prochloraz-manganese), the only approved fungicide available to the UK mushroom industry, provides good control of wet bubble (Mycogone perniciosa), moderate control of dry bubble (Lecanicillium fungicola) and weak control of cobweb (Cladobotryum species).

However, it could be withdrawn from use at the end of 2017, creating a need to identify sustainable alternatives. In AHDB Horticulture-funded project M 062, NIAB-EMR are investigating inhibiting fungicide degradation, chemicals and/or biopesticide products that are as effective as Sporgon for the control of fungal diseases.

The first aim of M 062 is to reduce fungicide degradation by stimulating a microbial population in the casing that is antagonistic to the microbes that degrade fungicides. Casing treatments that are effective in inhibiting fungicide degradation will then be tested against standard casing for control in large pot and on-farm experiments.

M 062 also aims to identify sustainable alternatives. One possibility is Vivando (metrafenone), approved for mushroom crop disease control in France and Spain. The efficacy of Vivando has been compared with that obtained with a further fungicide, Shirlan (fluazinam), and a biopesticide, Cedemon (Pseudomonas chlororaphis).

Preliminary results of experiments lead by Professor Ralph Noble (NIAB-EMR) suggest Vivando and Shirlan have similar control effects on the wet and dry bubble pathogens. Other initial findings also suggest that Shirlan is the most effective in controlling the cobweb pathogen.

Ongoing experiments are further examining the effects of chemical and biopesticide products on wet and dry bubble and cobweb disease. The final report will be made available on the AHDB Horticulture website in May 2017.

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