Volume 16 Part 1 Article 96: Managing Cobweb Disease in Australia

Volume 16 Part 1 Article 96
Year 2004
Title: Managing Cobweb Disease in Australia
Authors: J.T. Fletcher, J. Allan and G.K. Seymour


Cobweb disease (Cladobotryum dendroides), previously of little significance in Australia on cultivated mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus), became epidemic in 1999-2000. The reasons for this relatively sudden development were unclear. A novel approach for communicating information on the control of this disease was tested. Work began in 2001 with a team (one in England and two in Australia) and participating growers who communicated entirely by e-mail, fax and phone. Tasks were devised that enabled growers to identify weaknesses in their disease control strategies. These included the determination of the sensitivity of the pathogen to fungicides, fungicide usage, work practices and environmental control. The success of the system depended upon accurate observations by growers and follow-up actions. Eleven growers responded and they all received information and six tasks to complete. Disease samples were examined from seven farms. Fungicide resistance was a significant factor, with all C. dendroides isolates being resistant to thiabendazole, and their sensitivity to benomyl and prochloraz manganese varying with the farm. Although still present at low levels on some farms, cobweb disease has declined significantly since the initiation of the scheme. The project is an example of co-operation on an international scale utilizing available information and channelling it through a self-help system.

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