By John T Fletcher; R H Gaze
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I DENTIFICATION identification depends upon the organism involved and the ease with which it can be seen. Pathogens new to the crop must be used in inoculation experiments in order to reproduce the symptoms, before the cause can be positively confirmed. Abiotic causes are much more difficult, and an investigation using a methodical approach taking into account all possible factors, is usually the only one possible. Sometimes hypotheses can be tested by applying factors to experimental crops. Reproduction of the symptoms is considered to be positive proof, but negative results do not necessarily prove that the tested factors were not involved.
Large tunnel washers with a very large throughput process the containers in a very short time, sometimes as little as 30 seconds. The line may consist of three separate tanks: an initial wash tank usually containing hypochlorite solution at ambient temperature where loose debris and large particles are removed, followed by a caustic soda wash at 60˚C or above, and finally a quaternary ammonium rinse at about 87˚C. Although this procedure has been designed to eliminate human bacterial pathogens, it is likely that it will at least reduce the risk of mushroom pathogens and mushroom spores being transferred to another farm.
The use of pesticides as well as some of the procedures used for containment are part of this process, but the most effective of all the processes is cook-out at crop termination. Generally heat cook-out achieves a total kill. Over a period of time, when the process is repeated for each growing room, the pest and pathogen populations on the farm are reduced to very low levels if not eliminated, particularly if 37 38 E FFECTIVE P EST AND D ISEASE C ONTROL containment is working well. An additional useful tool is the early termination of crops when pest or pathogen populations are high.