Volume 16 Part 1 Article 29: Processing and Composition of Mushroom Compost

Volume 16 Part 1 Article 29
Year 2004
Title: Processing and Composition of Mushroom Compost
Author: G. Straatsma


Microbial degradation of organic components drives the composting process. Excess heat is removed by ventilation, which provides sufficient oxygen for composting. Finally, the compost becomes ‘selective’ for growth of mushroom mycelium. Microorganisms are indispensable in an indirect way for the continuation of the composting process, and in a direct way for the growth of mushroom mycelium and cropping. In order to understand the direct effect of microorganisms on the crop, it is useful to consider the sequence of substrate preparation and cropping in reverse order. The first topic then is the growth and activity of the mushroom mycelium within the substrate. Important is that degradation proceeds rapidly at flush growth, that the flush itself controls substrate usage and that all of this is carried out by the mushroom mycelium in the compost. No evidence exists indicating that other organisms are of key importance in this stage. During mycelium colonization, the presence of Scytalidium is important. Scytalidium develops in Phase II. The impact of other organisms that develop during Phase II is less evident, although other thermophiles can produce ‘selectivity’ of the compost in a comparable way to Scytalidium. The microbiological aspects of Phase I are a black box. At high temperatures, microbial degradation of organic matter comes to a halt; the survival of species is at risk. We have a limited understanding at the structural level of the effect of Phase I and II composting on cell wall components and tissues of the straw. We do not know if changes at the structural level are essential for growth of mycelium and development of fruiting bodies.

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