Harvesting Mushrooms Carefully

Harvesting is carried out at different maturation stages depending upon the species and upon consumer preferences and market value.

Culture media and preparation:

The mushroom can grow on a variety of culture media and on different agar formulations, both natural and synthetic, depending on the purpose of the cultivation. Synthetic media are often expensive and time-consuming in preparation; hence they are not commonly used for routine purposes. The potato dextrose agar, or PDA, is the simplest and the most popular medium for growing the mycelium of the mushroom. It can be prepared following the instructions in Section 3.1.2.
 Examples of the different formu las for spawn substrates are described below. Mother grain spawn: (i) Wheat/rye grain + 1.5% gypsum or slaked lime. (ii) Cotton seed hull 40%, sawdust 38%, wheat bran 20%, sugar 1% and gypsum 1%. (iii) Sugar cane bagasse 40%, sawdust 38%, wheat bran 20%, sugar 1% and gypsum 1%. Planting spawn: A number of materials, mostly agricultural and forest wastes can be used to prepare mushroom planting spawn. Three of them are given here as examples: (i) Sawdust 78%, rice/wheat bran 16%, sugar 1.5%, corn flour 1.7%, ammonium sulphate 0.3%, Calcium superphosphate 0.5% and gypsum 2%; (ii) Sawdust 64%, wheat bran 15%, spent coffee grounds 20% and gypsum/lime 1%; and (iii) Sawdust 78%, sucrose 1%, wheat bran 20% and Calcium carbonate 1%.

Agaricus bisporus  is variously known as  the white mushroom, button mushroom, champignon, or simply the  common cultivated mushroom. In Western countries this mushroom has developed over the past 60 years from beginning as a risky venture to a largely predictable and controllable industrial process, particularly in Great Britain and the Netherlands. In no small measure this remarkable achievement in modern mushroom industrial development may be attributed to ontributions resulting from the vigorous research activities conducted at mushroom research laboratories, centres and stations. leurotus sajor-caju (Grey oyster mushroom, Phoenix-tail mushroom, Indian oyster)

Pleurotus sajor-caju (grey oyster mushroom) is comparable to the high temperature species in the group of Pleurotus (oyster) mushrooms, with high temperatures required for fructification. This mushroom has a promising prospect in the tropical/subtropical areas. Its cultivation is easy with relatively less complicated procedures (Chang and Miles, 2004, Kaul and Dhar, 2007). (1). Biological nature:  The temperature for growth of mycelium is 10-35 o C. The optimum growing temperature of the mycelium is 23-28 o C. The optimum developmental temperature of the fruiting body is 18-24 o C.  The optimum pH of the substrate used in making the mushroom bag/bed is 6.8-8.0. The C:N ratio in the substrate is in the range of 30-60: 1.  A large circulation of air and reasonable light are required for the development of the fruiting bodies. (2). Examples of spawn substrates: (i) Wheat grain + 1.5% gypsum or lime. (ii) Cotton seed hull 88%, wheat bran 10%, sugar 1% and gypsum 1%. (iii) Sawdust 78%, wheat bran 20%, sugar 1% and gypsum 1%. (vi) Sawdust 58%, spent coffee grounds/spent tea leaves 20%, water hyacinth/cereal straw 20%, sugar 1% and gypsum 1%. (3). Examples of cultivation substrates: (i) Cotton seed hull 95%, gypsum 2%, lime 1% and Calcium superphosphate 2%. (ii) Rice straw 80%, cotton waste 18%, gypsum 1% and lime 1%. (iii) Water hyacinth 80%, cereal straw 17%, gypsum 2% and lime 1 %.  For demonstration purposes, this mushroom can be nurtured to grow into a tree-like shape (Chang and Li, 1982). The cultivation method, which has been tested to be successful, is as follows: Cotton waste or rice straw mixed with water hyacinth is used as the substrate. Tear large pieces of cotton waste into small parts or cut the straw and water hyacinth into small segments. Add 2 per cent (w/w) lime and mix with sufficient water to get moisture content of about 60-65 per cent.  Pile the materials up, cover with plastic sheets and leave to stand overnight. Load the substrate into small baskets or on shelves for pasteurisation or cook the substrate with boiled water for 15 minutes. After cooling to approximately 25 o C, mix around 2 per cent (w/w) spawn thoroughly with the substrate and pack into columns of 60 cm long tubes which have hard plastic (PVC) tubing of 100 cm (4 cm in diameter) as central support, and with plastic sheets as outside wrapping. Incubate these columns at around 24-28 o C, preferably in the dark. When the mycelium of the mushroom has ramified the entire column of substrate after three to four weeks, remove the plastic wrapping and switch on white light. Watering occasionally is needed to keep the surface from drying. In around three to four days white primordia start to appear over the whole surface. After another two to three days, the Pleurotus mushrooms are ready for harvesting. During the cropping period watering is very important if many flushes are required.



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