The world economic recession has touched every
walk of our life. Youngsters are looking towards the village. They are in the
search of pro?table agri based activities. These educated, young and energetic people
can understand and implement any technical projects. Bee keeping, Mushroom cultivation
etc. are the best subsidiary activities for such
enterprising young farmers. This agriculture ?lm explains everything about edible mushroom
production. Till now many people have had bitter experiences
with Rabbit, Emu Mushroom etc. Some private consultants misled and exploited
the innocents with attractive adds on these activities. But the KVKs of Agriculture Universities,
department of Horticulture and IIHR Bengaluru have provided proper and reliable
training on mushroom production. Despite of all these e forts the famers failed after
one or two successful crops of mushroom. It is
dif?cult to establish the market without the continuity in the production. On the contrary
mushroom cultivation is an easy job. It needs very less investment and space. Let us study
the reasons for the failure ?rst, before going in to the details of mushroom cultivation.
The hotels use canned button mushrooms for their regular preparations. But its
cultivation is dif?cult for common farmers. If the fresh oyster mushroom is introduced
and supplied continuously no doubt the hotels
will accept it. HOPCOMS sells the fresh oyster mushroom through its outlets. It can be dried
like this or processed in to pickle. Department of horticulture produces the spawn
in its laboratories. The only shortage is the
successful mushroom farmer. The ?rst problem of mushroom cultivation is
the continuous availability of contamination free spawn of required species.
Department labs are discontinuous due to lack of regular demand. The mushroom crop
fails after one or two successful crops. Contamination with unwanted microorganisms
is the main reason for this failure. Mushroom is a fungus. Likewise, there are
huge numbers of fungi in the nature. They also
develop with this mushroom fungus and spoil the crop. This is a technical problem. If
the educated youth are given proper training,
solution is no so dif?cult. Mushroom is not a non-veg food. It is a tasty
vegetable with 20 to 30 % of protein. It is a complete food with all nutrients and
vitamins. Even it has some medicinal properties and hence is good or Blood Pressure, Diabetes,
Obesity and Heart patients. Scienti?cally mushroom is a fungus belonging to the plant
kingdom. There are about 20,000 species of mushrooms of which 2000 species are edible.
Out of this, 20 types are being cultivated. Three types of edible mushrooms are commonly
cultivated in India. They are White button, Milky and Oyster mushrooms. Cultivation
of white button and milky mushrooms is little bit complicated. Oyster mushroom
is popular among common farmers. Hence, this ?lm explains its detailed cultivation methods.
In Himachal Pradesh mushroom production is a popular commercial enterprise. They grow
button mushroom on large scale in open during winter. They go for oyster in the rainy
season and milky during summer. In Karnataka mushroom production is not yet tried systematically.
Recently one more costly mushroom called �Shitake� is being
introduced for cultivation. First let us study the cultivation of white
button mushroom in brief. Botanically it is Agaricus bisporus. This is a ?eshy and tasty
mushroom, which has got highest demand. But the cultivation is bit complicated and
speci?c. First step is the preparation of compost.
Paddy or Wheat straw is mixed with rice bran, Neem cake, poultry manure, fertilizer,
gypsum etc. to prepare this compost. Then it is pasteurized to kill unwanted
microorganisms. In the next step the spawn is mixed with the compost and ?lled in poly
bags. Fungal mycelium covers the substrate within 15 to 20 days. Then open the bag and
put the pasteurized casing material. Sandy soil is mixed with old manure and coir dust
etc. to prepare this casing material. The fruiting
bodies grow only at the speci?c temperature of
16 to 18� centigrade and relative humidity of 80 to 85 %. Hence, the air conditioner
is compulso1y. The pinheads of the mushroom appear within 15 to 20 days after putting
the casing layer. It matures in a week time. Then pluck the mushroom individually and
clean. Pack it in a perforated poly bag and send to the market. This technology needs
heavy investment and is dif?cult for the common farmer. Hence this button mushroom
cultivation is rarely seen in India. Now let us study the cultivation method of
milky mushroom in brief. Botanically it is Calocybe indica. This species is well suited
for higher temperature of 30 to 35� centigrade. The fruiting body is in attractive milky white
colour like this and does not fade even after plucking. Keeps good for 3 to 4 days in open
and for 2 weeks in the fridge. It is becoming popular because of its taste and colour.
The initial steps of cultivation are similar to the Oyster mushroom. Chaff the paddy
straw, soak it in water and pasteurize. Fill the straw in poly bag and put the spawn. Mycelium
covers the substrate within 20 to 25 days. Then open the bag and put the
pasteurized casing material. Maintain the required moisture in the bag by sprinkling
water. Mushroom fruiting bodies grow within 15 to20
days. It is ready for picking in 8 to 10 days. Mushroom consultants have given lot of publicity
for this milky mushroom. But is not yet successful at growers� level. Crop
cycle needs 3 months. This is more sensitive than
oyster fungus. Hence, the problem of contamination is more. Since it needs higher
temperature cultivation is not possible during rainy season and winter. It is cultivated
in small poly bags due to the requirement of
casing. Hence, the cylinder system is not possible for large scale production.
Now we have come to the main part of the ?lm – the Oyster mushroom cultivation.
This is the well-known for our farmers. Pleurotus ?orida, Pleurotus ostreatus, Pleurotus
sajor-caju are the common species. The new introduction is Hypsizygus ulmarius. This
is Pleurotus ?orida. It has the attractive white co1our. But the shelf life is only one
day. This is Pleur0tus sajor-caju. It has light
black colour. But the yield and s elf life is more.
This is Hypsizygus ulmarius species. It gives higher yield and better taste than all other
oyster species. Keeps good for 3 days in open and for one week in the fridge at 8� centigrade.
Cultivation of these oyster species is simple and needs very less investment. 25 to 30�
centigrade temperature and 80 % relative humidity are good. If the temperature exceeds 35�
centigrade yield comes down. Comparatively the contamination problem is less in oyster
mushrooms. Now let us go through in detail. In all mushrooms
the gills on the lower side of the cap produce powder like spores. But it cannot
be collected for cultivation. Hence, the fungal mycelium is grown on sorghum grains
in the laboratory. This is used for, further cultivation and is called spawn. The fungus
is grown on organic substrates like paddy straw to get the crop of its fruiting body
– the mushroom. Spawn production is not possible for the common
farmers and is not required also. One spawn lab can supply the spawn to hundreds
of farmers. This is a highly technical job, which needs basic scienti?c knowledge
and technical training. This is laminar air?ow chamber used in the laboratories for the inoculation
of microorganisms into the growth medium. For large-scale production of spawn
this is essential. But look at this simple setup. A box with a UV lamp is used for the
purpose successfully. He works with all accuracy to produce the spawn without any
contamination. Bring the mother culture of the fungus of
required species from the laboratories like IIHR and keep it in the fridge. 1st and 2nd
generation spawn is prepared with this culture. Then these are used for the production of
the commercial spawn. This is used only for the
cropping. If this commercial spawn is multiplied the yield comes down. Bring the clean
sorghum without broken grains and mould growth. Wash thoroughly and half cook this
grain. The grain must crack, but should not open like this. Drain the water and spread
it for 4 hours for cooling. Then mix 15 % Chalk powder
and 10 % Gypsum on dry weight basis of the grain. This is to keep the individual grains
separate and to balance the pH. Then ?ll the grains in pp bags of 200 gauge. Keep a
cotton plug in the neck and tie firmly. Then keep the bags in the autoclave for sterilization
for two hours at 120-pound pressure. The bags are then taken out and kept for 4 hours for
cooling. Bag should not be opened for any reason.
Inoculate the fungal culture in to this bag after it cools down completely. Perform
this work above the sprit lamp in the inoculation chamber. Tie the bag again and keep it in
the dark room for 10 to l2 days. By then the fungal mycelium grows and covers the whole
mass of grains. Check the spawn bags individually for any contaminant growth. Destroy
the spawn like this by burning or by burying in the soil. Clean spawn of this kind is ready
for use. Use the fresh spawn only. It may be kept for a week in the fridge. The old
spawn will yield less. Use the entire spawn bag after once it is opened. Government labs
produce the spawn in the saline bottles or pp bags.
They sell this 250-gram spawn for 10 rupees. But for the commercial cultivation spawn bag
of half or one kilogram is comfortable. Spawn costs around 35 to 40 rupees per kilogram
in large-scale production. It is better for the common farmer to purchase the spawn from
responsible labs. Now we have reached the main part of mushroom
cultivation. Bag and cylinder systems are the two types followed commonly.
Government departments and hobby farmers follow this bag system. Here the substrate
is ?lled in a small poly bag of one feet diameter and 1 � feet height. But for large
scale production the cylinder system is better. Of course, the principle and the methods are
same in both the systems. This ?lm explains the cylinder system of oyster mushroom cultivation.
Select a cool and clean place for the construction of the shed for mushroom away
from the busy roads. A small shed or a room is suf?cient for hobby growers. Here the
farmer is using the shed built for broiler chicken. In case of tile or sheet roofing
let the centre height of the building be 15 feet and
10 feet on the sides. This height is necessary to
avoid excess heat, during summer. Thatched roof of this type is better. Trees around
the shed keep the atmosphere cool. Mushroom shed
needs good ventilation and light penetration. Here the windows are big and
are ?tted with insect proof net. Gunny bags on
the wall control the light and the humidity inside. Mud flooring is better. It absorbs
excess water reducing the chance of contamination.
Otherwise put a layer of sand of 3 inches thickness on the ?oor. This holds the water
in between which improves the humidity. This shed is 22 feet wide and 140 feet long.
10 cylinders are placed in each row on width wise. A gap of 1 foot is maintained
between the cylinders to facilitate the growth of
mushrooms. Between two rows 2.5 feet space is left for the movement of the workers. This
shed accommodates around 400 cylinders. The cylinders are placed on bricks to give air
gap at the bottom. Hence, the end of the central pipe keeps open. Here every day one fresh
row is being added. This plan of continuous batches is to get regular harvest of mushroom
every day. It is difficult to maintain humidity in this big shed. Harvesting starts on one
side of the she when the spawning continuous on
the other side. So, the control on the contamination becomes dif?cult. It is better
to divide this house on length wise in 2 or 3
clear partitions. Visitors should not be allowed inside the shed unnecessarily. Remove the
foot ware and soak the feet in the disinfectant solution compulsorily while entering the
mushroom shed. Scientists recommend 2 separate sheds for
spawn running stage and mushroom crop. This is to avoid the chance of contamination.
If so the individual cylinder should have stand so as to make it movable. This metal
stand works out costly. Shifting this heavy cylinder is also dif?cult. To avoid all these,
make small partitions in the shed. See that the
spawning batches complete in that shed in 30 days. Then continue the further batches
in the next room.
Clean the shed before starting the crop. Here the walls are given white wash and the
?oor is cleaned by scraping. Take 5 ml of Formalin, 1 ml of Dichlorvas insecticide and
1 gram of Bavistin and mix them in 1 litre of
water separately. Spray these solutions separately to the floor, wall and roof thoroughly.
Spraying is carried out twice a week for 4 weeks. Give a gap of 2 weeks after the completion
of the crop and take up the cleaning work in the same manner.
Now we have come to the main step – the spawning. Oyster mushroom can be
cultivated on the straws of Paddy, Ragi, Wheat, coffee husk, sugar cane trash etc. But the
paddy straw is the common and the best substrate. Select hard and clean dried paddy
straw. Very smooth straw of this kind will hold more water leading to the decay. Let
the straw be the new one without the fungal or
mould growth. Otherwise it will act as a source of contamination. It is easy to chaff the
hard straw. It is good for the spreading of the
fungal mycelium also. Chaff the straw for 2-inch length. Soak the same in clean water
for 5 to 6 hours. Drain the water and fill the straw in the boiler. Boil it for 1 hour
at 80� centigrade temperature. This is pasteurization method to kill the contaminant
microorganisms. Chemical pasteurization is also in practice. But is not recommended here
since it has some problems. Take out the straw from the boiler and drain the excess water.
Spread it on the clean ?oor preferably in a closed place. But this farmer dries it under
the sun for 1 hour so as to retain 60 % of moisture.
That means the water should not come out when it is squeezed like this. If the water
content is more it trickles down like this. More
moisture hinders the growth of the fungal mycelia leading to decay of the substrate.
Maintain absolute cleanness from pasteurization to spawning stage. If the dust sits
again, the very purpose of sterilization fails. This is most important for the control of
contamination and hence, the success of the crop.
Next step is spawning or mixing the fungal spores with the straw. Take a plastic tube
of 80-gauge thickness, l6 or 20-inch diameter and 7 feet in length. Take 7 feet length
PVC pipe of 2-inch diameter. Drill 10 mm holes to the entire length at the rate of 12 holes
at 3-inch gap. This pipe and the holes are necessary for the release of heat and gasses
from the substrate in the spawn running stage. Otherwise the straw will decompose. Still
bigger pipe with more number holes is better. A bamboo stick covered with plastic is
provided for the support of the cylinder. Fold the plastic tube and tie the lower end
tightly keeping the pipe at the centre. Put 2 or 3
bricks at the bottom so that the cylinder and the
pipe do not touch the ground. The people doing this job of spawning must wash their hands
and apply alcohol. Person putting the spawn should not touch the straw and vice versa.
Pasteurized and cooled straw is put in a layer of 2 inches. Then the spawn is spread. Again,
a layer of straw. Repeat the same till the cylinder reaches 6 feet height. This needs
around 2 to 3 kilograms of spawn. Recommended quantity of spawn is 3 to 5% of the dry weigh
of the straw. Let there be a spawn layer at the top. Tie the plastic tube tightly at the
top keeping the end of the pipe open. Plug both the ends of the pipe with non-absorbent
cotton. This is to prevent the entry of insects inside.
Fungal mycelium develops and covers the entire substrate of the cylinder in 15 to
20 days. This is called spawn-running stage. 25 to 30� centigrade temperature is good
for this stage. Ventilation and light are not necessary. Fungus growth comes down if
the temperature exceeds 35� centigrade. Since the fungus grows inside the plastic
cover, the outside humidity has no in?uence o it. Check the cylinders for any contamination.
See, this bed has some unwanted growth. If the contamination is severe take the entire
cylinder out from the shed and destroy at a distance. Continue the spraying of chemicals
twice a week. Close the holes in the plastic of the cylinder if any.
Cut open the plastic after mycelium covers the entire straw bed. Then maintain 25 to
30� centigrade temperature and 70 to 80% relative humidity. Spray the water on the
gunny bags on the walls to maintain high humidity. Spray the fungicide and insecticide twice
a week everywhere except on the beds. Strictly avoid the spray touching the open bed. Filtered
light and clean air are necessary at this stage for the growth of e pinheads of
the mushroom. Otherwise the concentration of the carbon dioxide increases suppressing
the growth of the mushroom. Sprinkle clean water 2 to 3 times a day on the open beds.
However, excess watering is not good. Fogging system at the top is better. Put insect proof
net on windows and doors to avoid the entry of mosquitoes, ?ies etc. This is the mould
growth on the bed. Destroy this contaminant spot by soaking with 4 % formalin solution
with the help of cotton. Mushroom pinheads start growing in groups
after 2 to 3 days of opening the plastic. It takes 7 to 8 days to grow in to full size.
Harvest before it releases dust like spores from
the gills. Otherwise, the shelf life comes down. Pluck the bunch of mushroom with the
base itself by twisting. Otherwise, the base decays
attracting contamination. Stop watering the beds one day before harvesting for easy plucking.
After completion of 1st harvest scrape the surface of the bed with metal wire brush.
Keep on watering the beds. Second crop gets ready after 7 to 8 days. We can expect 3 crops
like this. The straw bed shrinks down. Commercial harvest completes by 50 days after spawning.
Each cylinder of this size yields l5 to 20 kilograms of mushrooms under ideal
condition. Mushroom yield depends on the species, purity of the spawn, contamination
free mycelium growth, temperature and humidity at the time of cropping etc.
Clean the plucked mushrooms. Polythene packets with holes are used for packing.
Keep the packets in cool place or in fridge. Continuous crop will help for easy marketing
of fresh mushrooms. It can be dried under open sun or in a drier. If the dried mushroom
is clean and white, it gets good demand and price.
Tasty pickle is also made with this fresh wet mushroom. What we have seen till now Hypsizygus
ulmarius species. This keeps good for 3 days in open cool place and for
one week in the fridge. The shelf life of the
other oyster species is hardly one or two days.
Do not throw the spent substrate as it is. It leads to the multiplication of insects
and contaminant fungi. This will pollute the whole
premises and troubles the next crop. Hence, spray the spent bed of straw with 4 % Formalin,
0.1 % Bavistin and 0.1 % Nuvon separately. After one or two days of spraying take out
the bed from the shed and use it for manure production. Then clean the mushroom shed and
spray the disinfectants as usual. You may start the fresh batch after two weeks.
Let us repeat some important points. The straw used for the cultivation should be free from
fungal growth. Since the straw, itself is the main source of contamination keep its
storage away from the mushroom shed. The person chaf?ng the straw should not enter the
shed. Do not allow the visitors in the mushroom house. Maintain absolute cleanness after
the pasteurization of straw. Maintain optimum moisture content in the substrate. Take care
of cleanness while spawning. Do not miss the sprays of fungicide and insecticide in the
shed. Maintain optimum temperature and humidity in the growth room.
Mushroom cultivation is a sensitive and technical job. Do not search for the shortcuts for any
of the steps or methods discussed in this film. Successful mushroom crop will certainly
bring bumper pro?ts. The farmers who failed till today have not followed most of these
procedures and precautions. Maximum cost of production of the fresh mushroom is 20 rupees
per kilogram. Present market rate for this fresh oyster mushroom is at least 60 rupees
per kilogram. There is no problem of marketing if the supply is regular. If you are able
to control the contamination your success is assured. 8