Volume 10 Part 2 Article 16: Influence of Cultural Practices on Mushroom Yield Response to Delayed Release Nutrients

Volume 10 Part 2 Article 16
Year 1979
Title: Influence of Cultural Practices on Mushroom Yield Response to Delayed Release Nutrients
Authors: L.C. Schisler and T.G. Patton Jr.


Supplementation of mushroom compost with protein and, or lipid-rich materials at spawning, at casing, and later has resulted in increased mushroom yields (Delmas and Laborde, 1969; Schisler, 1964; Sinden and Schisler, 1962). Biological and practical limitations often accompany its use in commercial mushroom culture. The optimum time for supplementation of non-composted nutrients from a practical viewpoint is during mixed spawning (Hauser, Sinden, 1959) when the spawn is thoroughly mixed throughout the compost. With the advent of spawn mixing machines for use in conventional bed mushroom houses, the process could be adapted by both the bed and tray systems of mushroom growing. The disadvantages associated with supplementation of non-composted nutrients at spawning (i.e. limited nutrient addition and yields stimulation, excessive heating, and stimulation of competitor molds) were largely overcome by encapsulating microdroplets of vegetable oil within a protein coat that was denatured with formaldehyde (Carroll Jr., 1973; Carroll Jr. and Schisler, 1976). Increases in mushroom yield of as high as 60% were obtained. Evidence for delayed nutrient release was indicated by stimulation of yields beyond the first few flushes. A patent was obtained (Carroll Jr. and Schisler, 1976) and a license granted to Spawn Mate, Inc., San José, California, USA to manufacture and market a commercial product.

Various researchers have shown that mushroom yields can be increased by increasing the amount of spawn mixed into the compost (Hauser, Sinden, 1959a) (Schisler, 1967) (Schisler, Sinden, 1962). It was also shown that by increasing the spawning rate, the yield of mushrooms from trays supplemented at spawning with readily available nutrients was increased compared to those spawned at lower rates (Schisler, 1967) (Schisler and Sinden, 1962). It was of interest to compare the effects on mushroom yield of increased spawning : cultural practices which could affect mushroom yield response to delayed release nutrients include supplementation rate and dry weight of compost filled per unit of bed or tray area, incubation temperature during the spawn growing period, and strain of Agaricus bisporus planted. The following series of experiments were designed to investigate these factors.

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