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The casing material required in mushroom cultivation presents a very rich ecological niche, which is inhabited by a diverse population of bacteria and fungi. In this work three different casing materials, blonde peat, black peat and a 50 : 50 mixture of both, were compared for their capacity to show a natural suppressive response against dry bubble, Lecanicillium fungicola (Preuss) Zare and Gams, and wet bubble, Mycogone perniciosa (Magnus) Delacroix. The highest mushroom production was collected from crops cultivated using the mixed casing and black peat, which were not significantly different in yield. However, artificial infection with mycoparasites resulted in similar yield losses irrespective of the material used, indicating that the casing materials do not confer advantages in disease suppression. The composition of the microbiome of the 50 : 50 casing mixture along the crop cycle and the compost and basidiomes was evaluated through next-generation sequencing (NGS) of the V3-V4 region of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene and the fungal ITS2 region. Once colonized by Agaricus bisporus, the bacterial diversity of the casing microbiome increased and the fungal diversity drastically decreased. From then on, the composition of the casing microbiome remained relatively stable. Analysis of the composition of the bacterial microbiome in basidiomes indicated that it is highly influenced by the casing microbiota. Notably, L. fungicola was consistently detected in uninoculated control samples of compost and casing using NGS, even in asymptomatic crops. This suggests that the naturally established casing microbiota was able to help to suppress disease development when inoculum levels were low, but was not effective in suppressing high pressure from artificially introduced fungal inoculum. Determination of the composition of the casing microbiome paves the way for the development of synthetic casing communities that can be used to investigate the role of specific components of the casing microbiota in mushroom production and disease control.

Original publication




Journal article


Microbiology (Reading)

Publication Date





611 - 624


Agaricus bisporus, casing material, metagenomics, microbiome, mycoparasites, next generation sequencing, Agaricus, Bacteria, Culture Media, Hypocreales, Microbial Interactions, Microbiota, RNA, Ribosomal, 16S, Soil Microbiology