Bag Culture

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In the search for inexpensive, portable, and disposable containers, plastic bags have bee me the logical choice. High temperature toleran polypropylene bags are prii larilyu'e for processing wood-based substrates which require higher temperature treatment than the cereal straws. Once cooled and inoculated, sterilized substrates are usually filled directly into heat sensitive polyethylene bags. Mushrooms fruit from the top or sides

For the cultivation of most wood decompos ers, a biodegradable, heat-tolerant, and breathable plastic for bag culture is sorely needed. "Cellophane", a wood cellulose-based plastic-like material used commonly in the mid 1900's, has some of these features (heat tolerance, gas porosity), but lacks durability. Despite this shortfall, one of the most appealing aspects

Figure 161. A white Oyster mushroom, Pleurctrs Figure 160. Black Reishi, Ganoderma lucidum, fruit- ostreatus, fruiting from custom-made plastic :ng fro-, wall formation of stacked bpgs. gnd-f. ame.

Figure 162. The hinged wall-frame—two trays latched together in ¿he center. Mushrooms fruit out both sides. (Frame has been turned 90 degrees on side for photograph.)

of cellophane is that mushroom mycelium di gests it in the course of its use. With mushrooms having such great potential for recycling wastes, it is ironic that non-recyclable plastics fill so critical a need amongst cultivators. Some ingenious re-structuring of cellulose could satisfy this increasing market for the environmentally sensitive

Bag culture first became popular for the Button mushroom industry and is still used to this day. Inoculated compost is filled into and bags topped with a soil-like casing layer. (See Figure 165. ) Individual bags are grouped on horizontal shelves. By preventing contact between the mycelium and the wooden shelves, contamination, especially from the wood-lovir.g Trichoderna and Botrytis molds, is minimized.

Many growers favor plasric bags for their ease of use. When holes are punched through the plastic, mushrooms emerge soon thereafter. Opaque, black bags encourage photosensitive strains of mushrooms to form only where the holes allow light exposure. Clear bags stimulate maximum populations of mushroom primordiabut öfter :mes primordia form all over. Cultivators must remove the appressing plastic or selectively release colonies of primordia with sharp blades to insure crop maturity. However, many cultivators overcome this problem by using select Oyster strains that localize primordial clusters at exactly the puncture sites. By punching dozens of holes with stainless steel, four-bladed, arrowheads, large bouquets of mushrooms are encouraged to form. From the force of the enlarging mushrooms, the flaps are pushed opened. This method has many advantages and is highly recommended.

Figure 163. Primordial! cluster of Oyster mushroom emerging through hole in plastic.

Figure 166. Bag culture of the Oyster mushroom (.Pleurotus ostreatus).

Figure 164. Oyster mushrooms fruiting f-om bag filled with wheat straw. This bag is sold by Fungi

Porforh OC a mushroom 'r't.

I igure 165. Bag culture of the Button mushroom (.Agaricui: brunnescens).

Figure 164. Oyster mushrooms fruiting f-om bag filled with wheat straw. This bag is sold by Fungi

Porforh OC a mushroom 'r't.

Figure 166. Bag culture of the Oyster mushroom (.Pleurotus ostreatus).

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