Mushrooms are a tasty addition to dishes ranging from stir fries to stews, but harmful pathogens, pests, and microbes have been reducing crop yields for decades.

A new grant for more than $7 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will fund an upcoming project led by Penn State researchers, who aim to develop new pest management tools for mushroom crops. They also plan to create new outreach opportunities for growers, farm owners, residents, and policymakers.

David Beyer, professor of mushrooms in the College of Agricultural Sciences and project director on the grant, said that while mushrooms are a significant source of minerals and essential nutrients, an estimated 10% to 15% of mushroom crops are lost each year to pests and disease.

“These issues remain a significant problem for mushroom growers in North America, and yet management options are limited,” he said. “Growers have an urgent need for new technology and management strategies for pests and bacterial, viral and fungal diseases.”

Read more at: psu.edu