Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) has been isolated from Agaricus bisporus fruit bodies exhibiting a wide range of disease symptoms. The symptoms which occurred singularly or in combination included; bare cropping areas on commercial beds (primordia disruption), crop delay, premature veil opening, off- or brown-coloured mushrooms, sporophore malformations and loss of crop yield. All symptoms were associated with loss of yield and/or product quality. Collectively, these symptoms are described as mushroom virus X (MVX) disease. The dsRNA titre was much lower than that previously encountered with the La France viral disease of mushrooms and a modified cellulose CF11 protocol was used for their detection. A broad survey of cultivated mushrooms from the British industry identified dsRNA elements ranging between 640 bp and 20.2 kbp; the majority have not previously been described in A. bisporus. 26 dsRNA elements were identified with a maximum of 17, apparently non-encapsidated dsRNA elements, in any one sample. Three dsRNAs (16.2, 9.4 and 2.4 kbp) were routinely found in mushrooms asymptomatic for MVX. Previously, La France disease was effectively contained and controlled by minimising the on-farm production and spread of basidiospores. Our on-farm observations suggest that MVX could be spread by infected spores and/or mycelial fragments
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