Alexander Tsarev
Mushroom industry


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The Role of Diseases and Pests in Increasing the Yield of Button Mushrooms, and a Few Words about Sanitation and Hygiene.

8 2013

pests and diseases

In this article I am not going to list and describe different kinds of diseases and pests of button mushrooms. I am not going to talk and explain what harm these diseases and pests can cause to production. Unfortunately, many mushroom producers know about this from their own experience.

The aim of this article is to show you my variant, my view of the solution of this problem. The variant, which is based not on the search of some magical tools for killing unwelcome guests on the shelves, but the variant resulting from an elaborate study of some life details of these diseases and pests. This knowledge helps not only to get rid of everything which is unneeded on the shelves, but, as a consequence, to significantly increase the yield of button mushrooms.

Before stating my points, I would like to mention that it is not a detailed guide to action. I will be quite pleased if, after reading this article, somebody thinks it over and looks at the problem of mushroom diseases and pests from a new angle.

To start, let us try to understand the essence of mushroom production. At the start point, we have some quantity of the initial raw material: straw and chicken manure. Or in other words, we have the initial quantity of some organic material. The final objective is to transfer the maximum quantity of this organic material to the new form button mushrooms. This process consists of two main stages: compost preparation and mushroom growing. Technically, everything is very simple and clear, but in practice, there are some difficulties...

The thing is that, firstly, there are so many people who want to use this organic material, so the button mushrooms do not get anything. The task is more difficult because button mushrooms can use the initial material only after the chain of some transformations of this material meant for button mushrooms only. And, among the competitors, there are a lot of organisms which are eager to use this organic material in almost any form. Of course, at the expense of button mushrooms.

Eventually, the potential yield will depend on the part of the initial organic material, which will be brought to the condition, eatable by button mushrooms. The actual yield will also be corrected by the climate and the care of mushrooms in the growing room.

The visual manifestation of competitors in the growing room, that is the absence of diseases and pests, shows that a part of the initial organic material was transformed not for button mushrooms. In other words, the direction of transformations turned to the wrong side. And here goes the most interesting part.

Observing diseases and pests on the shelves in the growing rooms, most mushroom producers, beginners and experienced ones, mostly feel negative emotions, confusion, and despair. On an emotional impulse, they often start using different chemicals, try to implement some one-time events, take actions according to the principle of the lotto game, trying to guess the reason. All this does not affect the increase of yield in the situation received, because nobody can change the wrong transformations which already happened.

There is another case scenario - trying to understand that hundreds of other organisms, besides button mushrooms, have a full right to use the initial organic material. And the realization of their rights depends only on us. Only in a button mushroom complex, we can direct the transformation of the initial material towards button mushrooms to the maximum. It is impossible in nature. Nature does not have any favorites.

After understanding this moment, it is quite logical to think about the fact that each organism has boundaries of conditions of its possible existence. And, of course, there is an optimum for these conditions. Perhaps, everybody would agree that there is a different individual optimum for these conditions for each organism. In other words, if all the circumstances are ideal for button mushrooms, it will be bad for the rest. In the literature it is called compost selectiveness. Only the compost, which is meant for button mushrooms only, can be used by button mushrooms. And the more organics are in the weight unit, the bigger the harvest is. The faster we make all the necessary transformations of the initial organics for button mushrooms, the more chances there are to get a good harvest.

How will everybodys favorite diseases and pests help us with this? The situation is quite simple. No matter what direction the process of transformation of the initial organic material goes to, that is the composting process; this direction will be showed by some type of organisms for which this direction is suitable.

If everything is for button mushrooms, button mushrooms will be there. If it was not for button mushrooms, we will see trichoderma and other types of mold on the shelves. The list is quite long. After studying conditions (optimums) of existence of these organisms, one can quite simply calculate what time, what side (from button mushrooms) and why the composting process turned. All the more so, as all the diversity of compatible microorganisms can be divided into several groups according to preferences in nutrition.

Determining mistakes in the composting process, which is possible due to their manifestation in the form of extraneous organisms in the growing room, the correction of the situation for the benefit of button mushrooms is a matter of time and wish of mushroom producers.

In other words, each extraneous organism on the compost in the growing camera is the result of some mistake in the process of compost preparation. We mean all the three phases. After correcting these mistakes, we will direct all the nutrition potential towards button mushrooms. The result may exceed all the expectations. Especially if the composting process takes the minimum of time, and if the compost contains the largest possible quantity of the organics (the minimum of ash content).

And the easier the composting process is, the less excessiveness it contains, the easier it will be to prepare this compost without mistakes turning towards the competitors of button mushrooms.

Everything mentioned above mostly concerns the potential yield of button mushrooms, based on the quality of compost. The actual yield results from the conditions of mushroom growing in the growing room. And mistakes are determined according to the principle mentioned above. Any mistakes in climate and care of mushrooms will manifest in the form of various extraneous organisms on the shelves or on the mushrooms. And the following principle functions here: if mushrooms suffer, some other organisms feel good. And the ones which feel good will run the show.

At the end of the article, I would like to speak on the notions of sanitation and hygiene. As I see it, the essence of these notions is the maximum decrease of the number of extraneous organisms in the button mushroom complex. Of course, the purpose is very useful and necessary. But these activities will work and will be effective in the struggle with diseases and pests only after excluding mistakes in working with compost during all three phases and during the following work with mushrooms in the growing rooms.

At the presence of any mistakes, even small amounts of extraneous organisms proliferate to large amounts. Even if full sterilization kills these organisms, it will not increase the yield of mushrooms, as it does not correct any mistakes.

From the other side, if everything is done for button mushrooms, then even if there are some extraneous organisms in the button mushroom complex, they are sentenced to miserable existence and will not affect the yield.

The ideal variant is doing everything for button mushrooms and the minimal presence of extraneous organisms in the complex. Only this combination can guarantee stable good harvests.

Herewith, technologists professionalism is determined by his ability to hold the button mushroom line of everything in the production, focusing on single (signal) manifestations of extraneous organisms in growing cameras. These single (signal) extraneous organisms help a technologist to hold the mushroom growing process within the admissible limits. If there are too many extraneous organisms, one must search for mistakes in choosing a technologist.


  1. Karanja, Nairobi, Kenya, 5 2015:

    Very informative article. Simple to understand and follow up. Pictures are very useful too. My email address is I grow portabello mushrooms.

  2., 19 2014:

    Very intelligent and straight message for mushroom grower.
    congrates to you sir


Compost Production. Personal opinion(Part 2)



Without chicken manure compost? Yes, it's possible...

Hannes, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa:

Can you give me more details on compost without chicken manure for mushroom growing, what alternatives...

Without chicken manure compost? Yes, it's possible...


Hi kindly share your formula using 1000kgs wheat straw and no chicken manure. Email shroomcoenterprise...

Compost production: estimation of the process according...

Seyed Hoseini Iran:

????? ??? ????? ??? ??? ????

watering first flush mushrooms

Edwin, Harare:

Its best to water when pins are thumb size, increase air speed after watering so the surface of the mushrooms...

Without chicken manure compost? Yes, it's possible...

Ritesh Sharma, Dholpur, Rajasthan India:

My email id ritesh@. We are coming up with 52 Mushroom...

Compost production: estimation of the process according...


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Usually paddy straw have a low structure.its have a fast degradable you have focus on your compost...

Without chicken manure compost? Yes, it's possible...

JKSingh , Lucknow, India:

We have developed formulations of making compost without chicken manure. It yields similar or even better...

Without chicken manure compost? Yes, it's possible...

JKSingh, Lucknow, India:

We have developed formulations of making compost without chicken manure. It yields similar or even better...

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