Fungus versus fungus: Using metabolomics to detect mushroom competitors.
Mushroom production is a bulk industry and uses tons of mushroom compost every week. Being a fungus means growth and production is rapid and turnover from batch to batch happens every 6-7 weeks. One of the biggest risks to production is contamination with another fungus which competes with the mushroom for nutrients.
The European mushroom industry has come together to work with the main providers of applied mushroom research to focus on Trichoderma and Virus, two major problems for the industry. Disease control has been compromised by the withdrawal of key pesticides and disinfectants by the EU in recent years, such as the withdrawal of approval for formaldehyde as a disinfectant and carbendazim fungicide for Trichoderma control.
This project aims to provide research-based solutions for the mushroom industry to deal with these two relatively new major diseases affecting production. Application of the solutions developed by this project to the European mushroom industry will reduce crop losses and increase efficiency and competitiveness.
The project will generate technical research-based information on how Trichoderma and Mushroom Virus X grow, survive and spread in mushroom compost in order to identify the weak links in the chain and the steps needed to strengthen them.
Trichoderma which, if present in the mushroom compost at an early stage, can decimate production and entail huge loss of revenue for growers. In the EU-funded project MushTV researchers of Plant Research International are using metabolomics to detect Trichoderma agressivum – specific volatiles so that contamination during the compost production phase can be detected on time, before it is shipped out to the producers.
- To identify alternative disinfectant products and methods of disinfection that perform well in large air volumes, and on large pieces of machinery contaminated with high levels of organic matter.
- To identify the viral entities that make up MVX and use the obtained genetic sequence information, in conjunction with existing data, to improve and further develop sensitive diagnostic tests that can be used on compost and mushrooms.
- To develop a Trichoderma diagnostic method based on detecting unique volatiles from infected compost in the re-circulating air in compost incubation tunnels (and possibly mushroom growing rooms).
- To identify where reservoirs of Trichoderma and MVX inoculum occur at compost and grower facilities so they can be targeted with improved hygiene methods as part of an integrated pest management solution.
- To evaluate the efficacy of a promising biopesticide for the control of Dry Bubble, Wet Bubble, Cobweb as well as Trichoderma aggressivum and make recommendations for its use.
- To describe the pattern of growth of Trichoderma aggressivum in a bulk compost-incubation tunnel and determine how it is distributed in the compost when the compost is removed, bulk handled and transported to the grower.
- To track the incidence and spread of MVX inoculum on MVX-prone compost and grower facilities before, during and after an outbreak.
For more information please visit the MUSHTV website.