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Trichoderma Vs. Mushroom

Trichoderma is a fungus of Saprophyte behavior  (Parasite) that attacks other fungi to feed on them, naturally inhabits the soil and is distinguished by forming a dark green mass. Due to its particular eating habit and its resistance to unfavorable conditions, research has been carried out for several years to use this fungus as a Biological Fungicide.

The results have been very positive since today this fungus efficiently controls pathogens such as Fusarium, Pythium and Rhizoctonia; all of them fungi that severely affect crop plants, and that are even capable of eliminating entire plantations. However, this advantage does not appear in the cultivation of the Mushroom, because here the Trichoderma becomes a powerful antagonist.

Although the Mushroom is usually classified as a Vegetable in several markets and rural areas, we cannot forget that it is a fungus, and therefore the Trichoderma becomes an enemy of those who produce this crop.

Ironically as long as Trichoderma is present in the mushroom substrate, we can be sure that there will be no other pathogenic fungi in it that affect our crop. But at the same time as long as Trichoderma is present we can be sure that our Mushrooms will not succeed.

As can be seen, the Trichoderma gradually colonizes the substrate and is positioned over the Mushroom until it is covered, while the latter changes from its healthy white color to a yellowish color that indicates the bad state in which it is found.

There are producers who try to eliminate Trichoderma and other fungi by applying formalin in the affected areas of the substrate; However, this significantly compromises the quality of the Mushroom.

The most advisable thing is to remove from the cultivation place the bag where is located the substrate that is affected by the fungus, since it is only a matter of a short period of time for the Trichoderma (or any other fungus that is affecting the mushroom) to achieve reach up to nearby substrates through their spores.

However, when there is no presence of Trichoderma in the substrate, other fungi have a considerable opportunity to attack the mushroom crop, generating a very similar result; Yellowish mushrooms and contaminated substrates that should be removed from the cultivation site.

The best way to avoid this is to achieve an excellent sterilization of the substrate for which it is recommended to apply boiling water, agricultural lime, sulfur or biological products that contain this mineral. You can also apply steam at high temperatures and any other methodology that guarantees the elimination of any fungus (or spore) found in the substrate.

On the other hand it is not advisable to use chemical fungicides, as there may be remains that severely affect the Mushroom, and it is certainly not appropriate to use Trichoderma to stylize the substrate; there may be remains of this fungus that subsequently attack the mushroom crop.

Also the stylization with these methods of the place of cultivation and the bag that will contain the substrate are extremely important, since there could also be fungi or spores that can affect the new crops. It is also convenient to have pediluviums at the entrances of the different mushroom growing rooms, to which lime is placed; with the intention that those who enter the cultivation area, disinfect the sole of their shoes and thus more safely prevent the entry of fungi that can attack our mushrooms.

It should be remembered that the mentioned practices of stylization of the substrate and the cultivation area are carried out before the inoculation of the Mushroom (sowing) in the substrate; since everything must be ready before planting, because certainly the Mushrooms would not resist either hot water or sulfur.

Not performing these tasks could mean a large amount of yellowish, damaged and useless mushrooms for consumption; which means finally a waste of resources such as water, substrate and fertilizer used in these mushrooms, and also an economic loss for those who assume the cultivation of this fungus.

Finally, although the Trichoderma becomes a powerful enemy of the Mushroom Grower; he is a strong ally of the Producer of Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers; since this fungus does not hurt plants, but only other fungi.

Here we have one more sample of how aggressive and competitive it can be, and we also hope that this publication helps to understand a little the effort made by those who produce the Mushroom.

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