Substrate and nutrition

At present technology of growing mushroom without phase I composting, developed by A.M. Slater, is considered the most promising solution. The purpose of this change is to eliminate the malodorous emissions from compost production. The basic raw material used in this production without malodorous emissions is cut corn stover. It is subjected to a process of pasteurization and incubation, and obtained as result compost undergoes the process of spawning and millet – produced strains of Scytalidium thermophilum are introduced. The main change of this technology in comparison to classical method of producing compost is renouncement of phase I, which helps with full elimination of the sources of malodorous emissions, mainly chicken manure. The rest of cultivation is not changed. Which means, that the main assumption – that growing of mushroom is a controlled process of its usage of substrate – stays unchanged? The question whether such prepared environment of nutrition of mushroom could be called a substrate remains open. From my point of view this solution could eliminate the problem of malodorous emissions, but doesn’t solve the problem of stagnation and changing yielding of mushroom on compost. It yet doesn’t answer the question of the ways of controlling compost’s abundance in nutrition available for mushroom. Cut corn stover is a structural part, being a carrier for spawn and, at the same time, serves as nutrition. The same is with straw compost and chicken manure. This means that the process of nutrition cannot still be controlled.

I myself think that other solution of a problem of substrate for mushroom (also with malodorous emissions reduction) is possible, under a new proposed paradigm – growing Mushroom is a controlled process of its nutrition. For this purpose a model of such substrate was made and is now being tested. First of all the goal is to achieve an answer on how does a nutrition process of Mushroom itself work. Only then, after collecting information about a process and conducting multiple tests on usefulness of different diets, it could be possible to build a new technology of growing under a new paradigm.

Available tests and changes in technology of growing mushroom on compost using crafted corn as a supplement allow indicating the key elements of new technology, which are:

  1. Control of the process of transfer from compost to spawn of mushroom of bigger doses of crafted corn in a process of recolonization. This allows to achieve essential improvement in yielding above those which are obtained from compost. It requires skillful control of balancing of water introduced to compost with increasing doses of crafted corn.
  2. It is confirmed that yield from the first and second flush depends on nutrients and water that are collected in spawn. The process of collecting, that is enzymatic decomposition of substrate (compost and supplement) done by enzymes produced in hyphae and transferred of achieved this way nutrients to ryzomorphic mycelium. This way an average yield in two flushes of 40 kg\m2 of fruiting bodies yearly can be achieved, maintaining the full welfare. Efficiency of third flush is relatively low. 5 kg\m2 of fruiting bodies is a still unbreakable barrier. In this situation collecting fruiting bodies of third flush can be treated as additional effect achieved without additional expenditures or one can just resign from it. In case of resignation from a third flush, the process of cold composting can be omitted.
  3. Mastery of effective control of the process of domination of pins and incubation of fruiting bodies with full maintenance of welfare means that the effects of change in the composition of substrate on achieved yield can be compared to yield achieved on compost with its own supplement (crafted minced corn) oscillating around the level of minimum 35 kg\m2 in two flushes and in then yielding in third and fourth flush on a level of minimum 5 kg\m2.

To get substrate without composting it is necessary to establish the list of assumptions, which it has to realize and a list of unanswered questions related to the process of nutrition. The questions arising from analysis of theoretical knowledge, constructed models and technology. Getting precise answers on established assumptions will not be possible due to lack of possibility to perform laboratory tests and also lack of precise statistical testing. The reason for this situation is that all the research is being made during the process of production and because of its pragmatic character. Undergoing works are an element of growth of a company which has limited resources on founding research and development. The main goal of this research is to answer the question about developing new technologies and not to explain why such effects of introduced changes occur.

Following assumptions were established:

  1. All the components used in the process of production will have to be biodegradable and will have to be a part of the circulation of organic matter in nature.
  2. All the components used will have to be a subject to standards related to food and feed of plant origin.
  3. New technology will not be using pesticides.
  4. The structural part will be separated from the part responsible for nutrition. Structural part will be responsible for keeping spawn’s position after incubation and not to change it after introduction of water to substrate. It is also responsible for gas exchange during the whole process of cultivation. The nutrition part will have to have balanced composition meeting the nutrition needs and planned yielding in the welfare.
  5. The water must be available during the process of transfer, covering the needs of cooling of the substrate and keeping the needed for the process of transfer temperature. The transfer of water and nutrients will be controlled.
  6. The period of transfer will be dependent of the amount of nutrients introduced during the time of recolonization. The bigger the dose of nutrients the longer the period of transfer.
  7. The components of substrate must be free of pathogens and will have to provide worse conditions for competitive mushrooms. They will have not to lure pests of mushroom, mainly diptera.
  8. In case of cultivating in three or more flushes, Scytalidium thermophilium must be introduced.
  9. The production process must not be dangerous to the environment and has to be the shortest as it is possible. The best solution is that the amount of time from the beginning of the process of production of substrate to the beginning of putting the casing soil and the start of recolonization lasts no longer than seven days.
  10. The substrate has to be much cheaper. Especially the usage of non-renewable energy in its preparation must be much lower.
  11. Used up substrate should still be suitable to be used in a production of mushroom or to other purposes. It will be best if it meets the requirement of sustainable production, especially that corn is used as a part of human diet and animal feed.

 Which hypothesis will be verified?

  1. Which nutrients do the mushroom collect form the substrate? Does it behave like an animal or a plant? If like a plant, does it mean that it needs – in relations to assimilation – reversed source of energy, carbon, minerals and oxygen, and the rest – proteins, fats, other nutrients and components regulating incubation and development – produces for itself. Or like an animal, there are some components like amino acids or vitamins that it cannot produce for itself and has to collect them from the substrate.
  2. Does Mushroom need monodiet and compost is the one? Does it, for example, need dead matter of mesophyll microflora, actinomycetes (humus complex)? Or is it an organism with a diversified diet and could feed on for example corn or potato starch, etc.? In other words, what is the range of opportunism of mushroom?
  3. Is crafted corn enough to achieve a planned goal of yield of 40 kg\m2 in two flushes? How much should be used, what groups, and how much water is needed during the process of transfer?
  4. How long will the period of transfer take? What are the signs of its end? How to control spawn’s need of water during the process of enzymatic decomposition and transfer to ryzomorphic mycelium? Would measuring the suction force be helpful in control of introduction of water to substrate?
  5. Is microflora needed in the process of nutrition, if yes what kind? Is it possible to produce a substrate in which the process of biosuppresion and commensalism would not be needed? Are they specific only for compost?
  6. Could spawn placed on a substrate produced without the process of composting (without rotting and pesticides) after the end of production is used as a component of human diet or could be used as animal feed? Every cell of mushroom, no matter where it is located has the same nutritional value. Is it true to spawn in substrate considering increased content of insoluble calcium oxalate?

Growth of Mushroom bisporus on corn stover colonized by thermophyllic fungi (Scytalidium thermophilum and Myrioccum thermophilum) and their influence on substrate selectivity. Amber Marie Slater; Daniel Joseph Royse; Schreyer Honors College, Pennsylvania State University, 2010.