Volume 12 Part 2 Article 65: Mushroom Virus Screening, Sampling Strategies, and Epidemiology in The U.S. and Canada

Volume 12 Part 2 Article 65
Year 1989
Title: Mushroom Virus Screening, Sampling Strategies, and Epidemiology in The U.S. and Canada
Authors: D.A. Betterley and J.A. Olson


Viruses containing double-stranded ribonucleic acid (dsRNA) and which are present in fungi are numerous (Lemke 1979, Molitons et al. 1979; M o n et al. 1978; Ghabrial 1980). In most cases, these viral infections have not been correlated with identifiable viral disease symptoms, and might be considered as latent. In selected fungi, including Agaricus brunnescens (= A. bisporus), certain viruses are associated with disease expression. First described by Sinden and Häuser (1950), evidence for the viral nature of ‘La France’ or ‘Die-back’ disease was provided by Gandy and Rollings (1961). Many investigations have associated a range of virus-like particles with the disease, and reviews of symptoms and the various particles observed are available (Atkey, 1985; Schisler et al., 1967; van Zaayen, 1979; Passmore and Frost, 1979). In many cases of severe virus disease outbreaks, symptoms appear early in cropping and are diagnostic of a viral infection. However, disease symptoms are highly variable, covering a wide range of morphological abnormalities and cropping problems. Recent evidence suggests that in many cases, the principal symptom is reduced yield to some degree, without other identifiable symptoms (Wach and Romaine, 1983; Romaine, 1987; this study).

There is, then, a need for improving virus analysis. Several diagnostic methods are available, each with their own advantages, equipment and expertise requirements, and disadvantages (see Atkey, 1985; Fletcher et al., 1986). Sensitivity and accuracy as well as applicability to rapid diagnosis and more extensive virus screening programs must be considered. In this study we report on the practical application of the rapid detection of dsRNA from mushroom sporophores as a diagnostic method for virus screening.

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