01.2014 Can protein supplements and formaldehyde used in the mushroom production be substituted with other sources?

This question constitutes initial changes in the mushroom production technology and indicates necessity of modifications in the paradigm (approach).

The basis for the search for new supplement is the following statement “

“”No other solutions were explored in spite of the fact that in “The Mushroom Cultivation (1988) „ you can find a long list of other products that can fulfil the role of supplements and which come from plants found in Europe such as corn, potato, wheat, sunflower, sugar beet”.

Search for the new supplements began at a mushroom farm where the tests have been carried out. Mushroom production technology based on a feeding process has also been developed and implemented. (Chelkowscy: innovative tray farm Poland), Mushroom Business 060 August 2013). Mushroom production is carried out in four flushes on an area of 14 000 m2 in trays with an average load of 85 kg/m2 of compost phase III. A special room was built for mushroom production during harvesting in 3 and 4 flush.


Over recent years, variable quality of compost combined with protein supplements caused periodically, particularly in summer, a strong term affect. It resulted in very high costs of cooling down overheated compost. As consequences of these happenings protein supplements provided in phase III were omitted within one year.  In the meantime, for a short time a compost producer substituted cereal straw with a maize straw for compost phase III that was provided to a farm.

During the evaluating a provided substrate a very strong outgrowth of corncobs by mushroom mycelium was noticed. This observation inspired the mushroom producer for independent use of maize at his farm.

Based on the noted outcome we can provide answers regarding usefulness of supplements containing soybean meal and eventually replacing them with products of different composition.

The starting point for this consideration is the fact that mushrooms require energy derived from dead, organic matter for their growth and development. Group of enzymes efficiently degrades polysaccharides such as cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin etc. and as recently reported (2013) dead, organic matter present in the environment colonized by mushrooms. This matter is being formed from dead fungi occurring in compost after a conditioning process. There is a lack of information about enzymes assimilating proteins, particularly animal. This situation raises a fundamental question regarding the energy value of soybean HP and maize meal. Post-extracted soybean meal can provide about 9.5 MJ metabolic energy while maize meal about 14 MJ. There is also a great difference in protein content. Soybean meal contains about 46% of protein in dry mass while maize meal only 9%. Supplements including soybean cannot be applied at a dose 0.5% -1, 0% as they can cause thermal shock and overheating that would be difficult to control.  The substrate temperature above 270 C suppresses feeding while above 360 C causes decay and dying of mycelium that is frequently associated with occurrence of green molds and red pepper mites.

Regarding current situation it can be stated that application of supplements reach in protein content results in yield relevant to its energy value and excess of proteins affects development of thermophilic organisms.

Lack of thermal effect can be achieved without providing maize meal treated with formaldehyde. It has additional significance as it was withdrawn from the food production processes.

Moreover, delay in assimilation of feeding components during their enzymatic degradation caused by using formaldehyde restricts the availability of ingredients provided in supplements. This delay is unfavorable due to the short duration of feeding time after introduction of supplements or feeders. Besides, starch, as the main component of soybean meal and low protein content does not favor development of green mold.

One condition needs to be achieved that maize meal will meet the requirements as a feeder for the bottom mushroom.


The collected yields and compost condition indicate that supplements based on soybean meal can be successfully replaced with feeders containing properly prepared maize meal or other products. It seems that maize meal is balanced the best according to mushroom requirements. Maize is also significantly cheaper. Feeders containing maize meal might be also applied at higher doses and thus results in obtaining higher yields. The maize meal is not only a traditional supplement but also a feeder as it meets all requirements expected from feeders.

2013 Carbohydrate utilization and metabolism is highly differentiated in Agaricus bisporus
Aleksandrina Patyshakuliyeva1†, Edita Jurak2†, Annegret Kohler3, Adam Baker4, Evy Battaglia1,5, Wouter de Bruijn2, Kerry S Burton6, Michael P Challen7, Pedro M Coutinho8, Daniel C Eastwood9, Birgit S Gruben1,5, Miia R Mäkelä10, Francis Martin3, Marina Nadal5, Joost van den Brink1, Ad Wiebenga1, Miaomiao Zhou1, Bernard Henrissat8, Mirjam Kabel2, Harry Gruppen2 and Ronald P de Vries1,5*
Patyshakuliyeva et al. BMC Genomics 2013, 14:663