By Muhammed Kashif
Growth Room: The size of the growth room is dependent on the size of the operation.
Temperature Control: A heating and cooling system that can regulate the temperature from 16-28°C.
Humidity Control: A relative humidity between 85-95% is required. For large-scale production, humidifiers available in the market for textile industry would be used for mushroom production.
Air Circulation: Fan for the introduction of fresh air may require. Air filter must be attached to prevent contaminants from entry to the growing rooms.
Flooring: Concrete flooring with good drainage would be the best.
Spawn: Available from Pakistan.
Cotton waste: Readily available in Pakistan.
Polypropylene bags: Size 12 x 16 inch or may be variable according to the situation.
Substrate Pasteurizer: 45-gallon drums or steam boiler
Thermometer: Long probe type that measures up to 100°C.
Max-min Thermometer: To measure room temperature
Relative humidity indicator: To monitor humidity in growing room.
Production Techniques: Oyster mushroom can be grown in plastic bags as well as in vertical or horizontal trays.
The advantage of cultivation in tray is that the mechanization can be applied and the cultivation requires less labour. The advantage of cultivation in plastic bag is that the growing area is used more efficiently. In small area more substrate can be placed. Therefore, the yield per unit area is higher than the growing in trays. On the other hand, growing in plastic bags require more labour.
Substrates: Good results have been achieved on cotton waste. If cotton waste is not available, other substrates such as wheat or rice straw can be used.
Cotton waste is thoroughly soaked in water. Lime 2-4% is added and mixed. Four per cent wheat or rice bran can also be added. The mixture is piled up, covered with plastic sheet and allowed to ferment for 5-7 days. Then the cotton waste is filled into heat resistant polypropylene bags or is put in small basket or trays for pasteurization.
Pasteurization: This serve to eliminate harmful organisms. To accomplish pasteurization, the substrate is subjected to pasteurization at 58-60°C for 5-6 hours. Pasteurization is generally recommended. For small –scale production in Pakistan, pasteurization is accomplished by seaming the bags at 100°C for 1-2 hours. The cost is lower and the steamer can only be a big capacity drum. Then the material is cooled and spawned.
Spawning is done @ 1-1.5% of the wet substrate. The bags are kept in growing rooms at desired temperature. When the bags are completely impregnated with the mycelial growth, Foils on the surface of the bags are removed. At this stage, fresh air is introduced to encourage fruit body formation and high humidity is maintained. The substrate should be protected from drying as much as possible by sprinkling water occasionally. However, this depends upon the required relative humidity.
About author: Mohammad Kashif has a Master degree in Horticulture from University of Agriculture Faisalabad Pakistan. He currently works for a private company as Technical manager-Mushrooms. Beside this job, he is technically skilled in Tunnel farming and Orchard management of Citrus, Peach, Plum, apricot and grapes.
Copyright Hortist, 2013