Volume 19 Part 1 Article 26: Mushroom mites in cultures of Coprinopsis cinerea

Volume 19 Part 1 Article 26
Year 2016
Title: Mushroom mites in cultures of Coprinopsis cinerea
Author: Wassana Singhadaung, Mónica Navarro-Gonzaléz, Pavel Plašil, Stefan Schütz and Ursula Kües

Mushroom mites (Acari, Acaridida: Tyrophagus putrescentiae, syn. Tyrophagus lintneri, syn. Povelsenia neotropicus; other common names: storage mites, mold mites, house dust mites) are feared pests in mushroom beds as well as in fungal laboratory cultures. These cosmopolitan tyroglyphid mites are generalists that prefer high-fat and high-protein feeds. They infest stored grains, flour, vegetables, cheese, meat and ham, straw stacks, bird nests and other habitats and are usually associated with moist and dark conditions. The mites are attracted to feedstuff by C8 compounds typical for mushroom odors. In fungal cultures, they consume the vegetative mycelium and possibly developmental structures and they are vectors of bacteria and ascomycetous molds. Presence of mites causes allergic reactions in humans due to their fecal pellets and due to transferred molds and their spores.

An incidence of mite infestations of Coprinopsis cinerea cultures in our laboratory was used to observe their behavior with the fungus. Mites were reared on C. cinerea mycelium in a standardized technique to breed animals for further experiments. In piles of Petri dishes, they actively enter any fungal cultures and graze on monokaryons and dikaryons. Observations on reproduction, development and death of the animals in fungal cultures are presented. The mites are well adapted to temperature conditions of 25-28°C at which C. cinerea fruits. Further, they develop well at 60% humidity in dark. At higher temperature, lower humidity and under too much light, the mites quickly die. The mites prefer to graze on freshly grown mycelium as compared to senescent mycelium and avoid multicellular structures such as primordia and sclerotia. They can distribute both the asexual oidia generated abundantly on monokaryons and the sexual basidiospores formed in fruiting bodies on dikaryons to new locations. On the other hand, they bring bacteria into the fungal cultures which inhibit mycelial growth. The fungus reacts with laccase production on bacterial contamination. Slimy growing bacteria can kill the mites when these get stuck in the slimy colonies.

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