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Pest Resistance in Mushroom Crops: Evaluating Agaricus arvensis and Aragicus subrufescens against phorid flies - HH3106SMU

The aim of this project is to evaluate and exploit Agaricus arvensis and Agaricus subrufescens against the mushroom phorid, Megaselia halterata. In previous DEFRA-funded research (HH1765SMU) these species of Agaricus were found to have high levels of phorid resistance, and both species are edible and have been grown commercially. In this project, they will be investigated as ‘fly breaker’ crops that can be grown to disrupt the population cycle of phorids in mushroom houses. We will also investigate the interaction between Agaricus arvensis / Agaricus subrufescens and Megaselia halterata in laboratory experiments. This information could be exploited in the longer term to develop new methods of phorid control, including the breeding of commercial strains of A. bisporus with phorid resistance, new biorational agents, or bait crops. The proposal builds on previous DEFRA- and HDC- funded research on phorid control in mushroom crops and exploits expertise at HRI in entomology and mushroom science.

The project meets the DEFRA policy objective to provide growers with the tools to enable them to minimise the use of pesticides while maintaining a viable horticultural industry. The project will benefit UK mushroom growers, who are under pressure from their customers to produce high quality mushrooms with minimal pesticide use. This would also give UK growers an advantage over foreign competition, and would enable more growers to expand into the organic sector.

Progress on the project will be communicated to the Mushroom Growers Association and at the HRI Mushroom Day meeting, which is held annually at HRI Wellesbourne and presents the results of DEFRA, BBSRC and HDC funded research to growers and other representatives of the industry. Scientific findings will be published in peer review journals. HRI will also produce a leaflet for growers giving a guide to phorid control, including the practical outcomes from this project and a best practice guide for IPM.

The project may lead to commercially negotiable results and any intellectual property arising from the research would be exploited to maximise the benefit to the UK in accordance with DEFRA policies.

The aim of this project is to evaluate and exploit Agaricus arvensis and Agaricus subrufescens against the mushroom phorid, Megaselia halterata. There are four Objectives:
1. To quantify resistance to M. halterata in different strains of A. arvensis and A. subrufescens.
2. To evaluate the agronomic characteristics of A. arvensis and A. subrufescens strains.
3. To investigate resistance to M. halterata in A. arvensis and A. subrufescens using olfactometry and assays of larval survival.
4. To evaluate A. arvensis and A. subrufescens in a fly breaker strategy in crop scale experiments.

Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2006

Cost: £240,700
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Warwick - HRI, Horticulture Research International
Pest Control              
Sustainable Farming and Food              
Sustainable Production              
Fields of Study