MUSHROOMS

Mushroom Cultivation: Both a Science and an Art

The cultivation of mushrooms can be both a relatively primitive farming activity, and a high technology industry. In each case, however, continuous production of successful crops requires both practical experience and scientific knowledge.  Mushroom cultivation is both a science and an art. The science is developed through research;  the art is perfected through curiosity and practical experience.  Mushroom growth dynamics involve some technological elements, which are in consonance with those exhibited by our common agricultural crop plants. For example, there is a vegetative growth phase, when the mycelia grow profusely; and  a reproductive (fruiting) growth phase, when the umbrella-like body that we call mushroom develops. In the agricultural plants, e.g., sunflowers, when the plants switch from the vegetative growth to the reproductive growths, retarded tips for further growth (elongation) is an obvious phenomenon of mature. It is the same principle in mushroom production. After the vegetative (mycelial) phase has reached maturity, what the mushroom farmer needs next is the induction of fruiting. This is the time the mycelial growth tips should be retarded by regulating the environmental factors. These factors generally called “triggers” or “environmental shocks”, such as, switching on the light, providing fresh air, and lowering temperatures, can trigger fruiting


The two major phases of mushroom growth and development - vegetative phase and reproductive phase. The triggers for the transition from the vegetative phase to the reproductive phase are usually regulated by environmental factors. Although the principles of cultivation are commonly similar for all mushrooms, the practical technologies can be quite different for different species cultivated. The technologies have to be modified and adjusted according to the local climatic conditions, materials available for substrates and varieties of the mushroom used.

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