Ireland leading mushroom research
The All-Ireland and UK Mushroom Conference and Trade Show: At today’s mushroom conference in Monaghan, Dr Helen Grogan of Teagasc and Mairead Kilpatrick of AFBI Longhall gave an update on the international Mush TV research to find solutions to mushroom diseases affecting European mushroom producers.
The EU-funded project began in January 2012 and is set to run for three years. The project is a collaboration of mushroom-producing organisations across Europe to investigate new and improved methods of managing and controlling Trichoderma and Mushroom Virus X.
The main aims of the project: generate technical research-based information on how Trichoderma and MVX grow, survive and spread in mushroom compost in order to identify the weak links in the chain and the steps needed to strengthen them; and screen and evaluate alternative disinfectant and biological products for use in disease prevention and control programmes among others.
It also plans to compile key results into technical factsheets for industrial partners to distribute to their members and generate technical research-based information on how Trichoderma and MVX grow, survive and spread in mushroom compost in order to identify the weak links in the chain and the steps needed to strengthen them.
The researchers expect more than 300 mushroom growers and composters across Europe will benefit from the results that will lead to reduced disease incidence and cost savings.
Speaking to AgriLand Dr Grogan said: “We are half way through the project at the moment and we are now beginning to disseminate the initial findings to the industry. There has been great progress so far.”
She explained that Trichoderma aggressivum is a fungus that causes compost green mould, which dramatically reduces mushroom yield, while Mushroom Virus X (MVX) disease is associated with a complex of viruses that cause mushroom browning and poor quality crops. Both diseases can have quite severe effects if they get out of control.
Dr Grogan continued: “So far results have lead to new diagnostic tests that is giving more information to the researchers on the specific diseases. Further research is now planned into reducing the use of pesticides on mushroom farms. This is hoped to reaffirm the green image associated with Irish products including mushrooms.”
“Some 80 per cent of Irish mushrooms are exported to Britain and they are renowned for their high quality. Ireland’s participation in MushTV will ensure our industry has the most up-to-date technologies to continue to produce high-quality produce for export,” she added.
Meanwhile, Alice McGlynn, quality assurance executive of Bord Bia, also addressed the issue of traceability in the mushroom sector at the conference and the responsibilities of producers, processors and exporters. “The mushroom sector has been the best-performing sector in terms of traceability,” she said. “The mushroom sector has the most demands placed on it in terms of traceability regulation and it is working. We have to be seen to be leading in this area and to continue to meet high standards.”