Hygiene, hygiene, hygiene …..

The highly-respected researcher Helen Grogan used these words to open her presentation ‘Trichoderma agressivum in phase-III-compost in bulk’ at the ISMS congress inChina. And rightly so, as hygiene is the most important weapon in the battle against this mould. A small percentage of infected compost can ultimately infect a huge amount of compost. If just 0.01% of the compost is infected, for example by a machine that has not been properly cleaned (see picture), all the compost in that tunnel can become infected!

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Hygiene checks

I am regularly asked to perform hygiene checks on phase-II/III farms. I perform this check just before inoculation starts. At the moment everything must be perfectly clean and disinfected. If that is not so because a trace of compost has been left behind somewhere, the risk of a Trichoderma infection is great.

Danger of compost residues

Disinfectants may well sterilise the outer layer of the compost, but they fail to reach mycelium left in the heart of any compost residues. If there is a Trichoderma infection, this mould will expand explosively through the sterile part of the compost (see photo).

Hidden compost

A hygiene check is not difficult to perform; it is basically a thorough hunt for compost residues. Compost residues can get trapped in the strangest of places! Sometimes you can see it at once. But don’t forget to look between the transport belts, in the round or square iron parts of the construction, at the point where moving parts converge, in tiny openings and in all the gaps… And, just like Linda Meyer, a researcher inSouth Africa, I advise you to embark on your search with the same attention to detail as the team in the popular TV series CSI. Leave no stone unturned!

Bron: mushroom blog – Mark den Ouden

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