Volume 10 Part 2 Article 32: The Influence of Saprophagous Nematodes on the Production of Agaricus brunnescens (bisporus)

Volume 10 Part 2 Article 32
Year 1979
Title: The Influence of Saprophagous Nematodes on the Production of Agaricus brunnescens (bisporus)
Authors: F.J. Ingratta and T.H.A. Olthof


Infestations of mycophagous nematodes of the genera Ditylenchus and have been associated with reduced productivity in commercial mushroom culture (Arrold and Blake, 1966; Cairns, 1952; Cairns and Thomas, 1950; Goodey, 1960; Hesling, 1960). Extensive sampling of commercial growing facilities in Canada has failed to reveal the presence of any of the parasitic nematode forms but high populations of saprophagous nematodes have been observed. The population density has exceeded 5 000 nematodes per gram of casing soil in many of the samples which have been examined. The majority of the nematodes retrieved from the production beds belong to the genera, Aerobeloides, Rhabditis and Choriorhabditis. Members of these genera are without the basic oral appendages required for feeding on mushroom mycelium. Commercial growers in Ontario have recently become concerned with the high levels of saprophagous nematodes found in their production areas and requested further research to clarify the role of these nematodes in mushroom production. Although most reports in the literature indicate a lack of correlation between nematode population and yield of mushroom sporocarps (Hesling, 1972; Wuest, 1977) some other workers suggest yield reductions have been associated with high nematode numbers (Bloom, 1977; Wuest, 1977).

In view of conflicting reports, this study was initiated to elucidate the relationship between the population dynamics of saprophagous nematodes and the yield of marketable mushrooms. Nematode population was determined at regular intervals during the production cycle and correlated to early and total crop yield. In addition to the correlation analysis several potential control materials were evaluated to establish nematicidal activity and potential phytotoxicity to the mushroom crop.

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