Of the Genus Pleurotus

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Oyster mushrooms are by far the easiest and least expensive to grow. For small cultivators with limited budgets, Oyster mushrooms are the clear choice for gaining entry into the gourmet mushroom industry. Few other mushrooms demonstrate such adaptability, aggressiveness, and productivity as these species of Pleurotus. Preeminent wood decomposers, Pleurotus species grow on a wider array of forest and agricultural wastes than species from any other group. They thrive on most all hardwoods, on wood by-products (sawdust, paper, pulp sludge), all the cereal straws, corn and corn cobs, on sugar cane bagasse, coffee residues (coffee grounds, hulls, stalks, & leaves), banana fronds, cottonseed hulls, agave waste, soy pulp and on other materials too numerous to mention and difficult tc magine poss:ble. More than any other group of mushrooms. Pleurotus species can best serve to reduce hunger in developing nations, and to revitalize rural economies.To this end, world-wide Oyster mushroom production has surged in recent years from 169,000 metric tons in 1987 to 909,000 in 1990.

Most extraordinary about Oyster mushrooms is their conversion of substrate mass into mushrooms. Biological efficiencies often exceed 100%, some of the greatest, if not the greatest, in the world of cultivated mushrooms. In the course of decomposing dry straw, nearly 50% of the mass is liberated as gaseous carbon dioxide, 20% is lost as residual water 20% remains as "spent" compost, and 10% is converted into dry mushrooms. (See Figure 39 and Chapter 7 for an explanation of Biological Effic jncy.) This yield can be also expressed as a 25% conversion of the wet mass of the substrate into fresh mushrooms. This formula is greatly affected by the stage at which the mushrooms are harvested.

On a dry weight basis, Oyster mushrooms have substantial protein, ranging from 15-35% and contain significant quantities of free amino acids. They are replete with assorted vitamins such as vitamin C (30-144 mg. per 100 grams) and vitamin B, niacin (109 mg. per 100 grams). The variation in the reported nutritional analysis of Oyster mushrooms is due to several factors. The protein content is affected by the type of substrate and by the spawning media and rate. Finally strains ofPleurotusvary in their nutritional composition and yield performances. For more information on the nutritional properties of Oyster mushrooms, refer to the articles by El Kattan (1991), Rai et al. (1988), and Bano & Rajarathnam (1982).

Three notable disadvantages persist in the cultivation of Oyster mushrooms. Foremost is that the mushrooms are quick to spoil, presentable to the market for only a few days. (This supports argument that local producers supply local markets). Secondly, the spore load generated within the growing room can become a potential health hazard to workers. Sporeless strains, which tend to have short gills and are thicker fleshed prolonging storage, are highly sought after by Oyster growers. (See Figure 282). Thirdly, the grower must wage a constant battle against the intrusion of flies. Oyster mushrooms attract Sciarid and Phorid flies to a far greater degree than any other group of mushrooms described in this book. The flies swirl in frenzied aerial dances around mature Oyster mushrooms, aroused by spore release.

grow to fruition in culture witnaeion. j- Oyster mushrooms re-

mt~f span the rainbow, white. blne gray,


King Oyster, Pi— -gns ^J^'S Sd The T ee Oyste'r, Ptam«

the Pink Oyster, Pleumtus Jjomor are the e world, and h sls the most

^^^wing'oyster mushrooms, several valuable by-produ s are ^ner^ed. A^terrtie^op cycie^s r "c mushroom speetes -

rS^Sr«^ 0 considerable „uant.ties of enzymes who place the Genus Pleurotus into their own family, the Pleurotaceae.

PleurGtus citrinopileatus Singer

Introduction: Few mushrooms are as spec tacular as this one. Its brilliant yellow color astonishes all who first see it. This species forms clusters hosting a high number of individual mushrooms, whose stems often diverge from a single base Its extreme fragility post harvest limits its distribution to far away markets. Spicy and bitter at first, this mushroom imparts a strong nutty flavor upon thorough cooking. Pleurotus citrinopileatus grows quickly through pasteurized straw and ster zed sawdust, and thrives at high temperatures.

Common Names: The Golden Oyster Mushroom

II mak (Soviet Far East term for elm mushroom)

Taxonomic Synonyms & Considerations:

Pleurotus citrinopileatus is closely allied lo Pleurotus cornucopiae (Paulet) Roll, and is of Figure 257. P. citrinopileatus myceiium 5 days after ten considered a variety of it. Moser (1978) and inoculation onto malte «tract agar medium. Singer (1986) described P. cornucopiae var.

cornucopiae as having a tawny brown cap whereas P. citrinopileatus has an unmistakably brilliant yellow p;leus.

Singer (1986) separated P. citrinopileatus Singer from P. cornucopiae (Paulet ex Fr.) Rolland sensu Kuhn. & Rom !(= P. macropus Bagl.) on the basis of the arrangement of the contextual hyphae. According to Singer/? citrinopileatus has monomitic hyphae whereas?, cornucopi-ehas diiiiif;c hyphae, a designation that has caused considerable confusion since he used this feature as a delinear'ng, sub-generic distinction.* Upon more careful examination, I-armatso (1987) found that the context was distinctly dimitic, especially evident in the flesh at the stem base. This observation concurs with Watling & Gregory's (1989) microscopic observations off! cornucopiae.

Hongo (1976) describes the Golden Oyster mushroom as a variety of P. cornucopiae, i.e. Pleurotus cornucopiae (Paulet ex Fries) Rolland var citrinopileatus Singer. Petersen's (1993) inteifertility studies showed a culture of P. citrinopileatus from China was indeed sexually compatible with P. cornucopiae from Europe. From my own experiences, the golden color of P. citrinopileatus can be

* Singer first collect P. citrinopileatus when fleeing German forces during World War II. He traveled east, acrossAsia, and during his travels found the Golden Oyster mushroom. Dried samples were brought to the United States for study years later. This contradiction in the arrangement of the contextual hyphae may simply be a result of poor specimen quality. Contextual hyphae is more easily compared from tissue originating near the stem base than from the cap. Hence, such confusion is notuncommon when examining old and tattered herbarium specimens t—-a----eh5sew --e .,'.', m---— ' - — i i ~ " ---■--—- - --:

Figure 258. P. citrinopileatus mycelium ¿«iv ------------' "

rnltured out resulting in a grayish brown mushroom closely conformi ,g, macroscopi illy, to R

b interesting to see if these exotic varieties escape. In this book, 1 am deterring atrinoF'Ieatus rather than P. cornucopias var. citrinop'leatus mordial cluster.

I tribute Native to the forested, subtropics of China, southern Japan, and adjacent regions. Natural Habitat: A saprophyte of Asian hardwoods, especially oaks, elm, beech and poplai Microscopic features: Spores pale pinkish buff, 7.5-9.0 x 3.0-3.5 ¡l Clamp connections present.

^Y^ab S^strains1,!ste^ns of this mushroom have been difficult to acquire in North America. While travel-

^ Curiously, when the anun loses Us golden color through continuedlegation, H«er«also lo*

Figure 259. Bottle culture of P. citrinopileaius in Hokkaido, Japan.

ing through China in 1983,1 made clones of Chinese mns] irooms Using a BIC ™ lighter and a i¡mall scalpel, I inoculated ten test tube slants without the benefit of an)' laboratory fac'ity. One of those clones survived the return trip. This is the strain prominently featured here.

Mycelial Characteristics: Cottony, whitish mycelium, often w ith tufts of dense growth, sometimes with yellowish tones, and occasionally run through with underlying rhizomorphic strands.

Primordia are yellow at first, especially from str?'.is kept close to their natural origins. Mycelium dense on grain. Colonization of bulk substrates at first wispy, only becoming dense well after colonization. This mushroom casts a much finer mycelial mat at first than, for instance, Pleurotus ostreatus or P. pulmonarius on wheat straw.

Fragi ance Signature: Grain spawn smells astringent, or acrid, nutty, sometimes "fishy", with a scent that, in time, is distinctly recognizable to this speeds.

Natural Method of Cultivation: Tir s species will grow on logs and stumps, espe- "ally of Ulmus and Carpinus species much like P. ostreatus. Hilber (1982) reported that, per cubic meter of elm wood, the yield from one season averaged 17-22 kilograms! Also grown on cottonseed hulls, sugar cane bagasse, straw and sawdust in China. In the United States wheat straw or hardwood sawdust ar, most frequently employed for substrate composition.

Recommended Courses for Expansion of Mycelial Mass to Achieve Fruiting: Grain spawn sown directly into sterilized sawdust or pasteurized substrates. The generation of intermediate sawdust spawn is not necessary. Straw inoculated with grain spawn has substantially greater yields than straw inoculated with sawdust spawn.

Suggested Agar Culture Media: MYA or PDYA

1st 2nd & 3rd Generation Spawn Media: Rye, wheat, sorghum, milo or millet.

bstrates for Fruiting: Pasteurized wheat, cottonseed hulk chopped corn cobs, and ha Iwood A mative sub rates being developed commercially are sugar cane bagasse, pape b> SSSSdth' • Eve »art of the coffi ,t can be ecycled growing Oyster mushroor..s—from thecoffee , )unds to thehulls, stalks, limbs and leaves! Kecommended Containers for Fruiting: Perforated plastic columns, bags, trays and bottles. Yield Potentials- This species is not as prolific as the more commonly cultiv; ed P ostreatus and¡P.

efficiencies are higher on cottonseed amended substrates.

Ha, t Wilts' Since picking individual mushrooms is tedious and often damages the fragile fraiA^dies cultivators should \ e strategies vhich encourage clusters host .g large nun bers of CMAi ofc erec uquets i % easier than seUng individual mushrooms

Figure 260. Column culture of P. cit tnopUeatus

Figure 261. Cruz Stamets beside 14 in. diameter coi-mn of the Golden Oyster mushroom fruit-ng i4 days after inoculation into wheat straw.

Form of Product Sold to Market: Fresh and dried mushrooms. (The golden color fades in drying )This musliroomis especially popular inAsia.

Nutritional Content: Not known to this author. This mushroom is likely to have a similar nutritional profile as P. ostreatus.

Medicinal Properties: According to Ying (1987) in Icons of Medicinal Fungi, P. citrinopi! 'atus potentially cures pulmonary emphysema. Thf supportive references are in Cliinese.

Flavor, Preparation & Cooking: Mushrooms are better broken into small pieces and stir-fried, at high heat for at least 15-20 minutes. This mushroom ' i extremely bitter and tangy when lightly cooked, flavor sensations pleasant to few and disdained by most. However,

Packaging Fresh Harvested Mushrooms
Figure 263. Harvested bouquets of P. citrinopileatus ready for retail packaging.
Figure 262. A beautiful clustered bouquet of the P. citiinopileatus.

SpaW" incubation Temperature: 75-85° F. (24-29° C.) Relative Humidity: 90 -100% Duration: 10-14 days. C02: 5000-20,000 ppm. Fresh Air Exchanges: 1-2 per hour Light Requirements: n/a


Relative Humidity: 98-100%

Duration: 3-5 days C02:< 1000 ppm

Fresh Air Exchanges: 4-8 Light Requirements: 500-1000 lux.

Fruitbody Development:

Temperature: 70-85° F. (21-29° C.) Relative Humidity: 90-95% Duration: 3-5 days C02:< 1000 ppm

Fresh Air Exchanges: 4-8 Light Requirements: 500-1000 lux.

Cropping Cycle:

Two crops, 10-14 days apart.

»however, have SOme lintetio« *ou.d he careMy confered he-

«ssassa growth parameters 291


Figure 264. Fungi Perfecti's Golden Oyster Mushroom Kit.

fore embarking on large-scale commercial cultivation. Pleurotus citrinopileatus is extremely fragile, easily breaking ' f mishandled, especially along the thin cap margin, complicating long distance shipping. The fruitbodies quickly lose their bright yellow luster subsequent to harvest. Higher spawning rates (15-20% fresh spawn/dry sub strate) are reqr:red to assure the full colonization of most pasteurized materials. And, cropping yields are not nearly as good compared to other Pleurotus species. However, its rarity and broad range of flavors, make this species uniquely marketable: and pleasurable to grow.

Pleurotus cystidiosus O.K. Miller

in Indiana.

Common 1 Barnes: The Abalone Mushroom

The Maple Oyster Mushroom Miller's Oyster Mushroom

abahnus fromP cy«»«J nileocyslidia and brown cheilocystidia

sS"o-be pubfehS interfertility and DNA studies should clarify the queshon ot synonymy be-tweeni cystidiosus, P. abalonus&P smitha

Pleurotus Cystidiosus
I7gur7265. Two strains'of P. cystidiosus growing on malt extract agar media

Spawn Run:

Relative Humidity: 90-95%

Duration: 12-16 days.

C02: 5000-20,000 ppm

Fresh Air Exchanges: 1 per hour.

Light Requirements: n/a

Primordia Formation:

Initiation Temperature: 70-80° F.(18-24° C.) Relative Humidity: 95-100 % Duration: 4-5 days C02:500-1000 ppm FreshAirExchanges 4-8 perhour. Light Requirements: 1000-2000 lux.

Fruitbody Development:

Temperature: 70-80° (90°) F. (21-27° C.) Relative Humidity: 85-90 % Duration: 4-8 days. C02:< 2000 ppm FreshAir Exchanges: 4-5 perhour. Light Requirements: 500-1000 lux. Cropping Cycle:

30 days, two crops, 10 days apart

At one time, P. cystidiosus was thought, incorrectly to be synonymous with P. corticatus (Jong & Peng (1975). This proposed synonymy led to the depositing of several mis-labelled strains into international culture libraries. P. cystidiosus is taxonomically discrete from P. corticatus. Currently, P. corticatus (Fr.:Fr.) Kumm. and P. dryinus (Pers.:Fr.) Kumm. are considered synonyms.

Description: Cap convex to hemispheric, eventually plane, measuring 2-5 cm. broad, and cream to dingy white in color. (P. abalonus is reportedly darker colored. (See Bresinksi et al. (1987)). Cap margin often irregular. Gills broad, sometimes widely spaced, strongly decurrent, with irregular edges. Stem thick, central or eccentrically attached and relatively short.

Distribution: From the eastern and southeastern United States (Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina), Taiwan and SouthAfrica. This mushroom is probably distributed throughout similar ecological zones of the world.

Natural Habitat: The type collection made by Dr. O.K. Miller came from Red Maple (Acer rubrum). Also native to Eastern Cottonwood (Populus deltoides), Sweetgum (Liquidambar

Pleurotus Abalonus

Figure 266. P. cystidiosus on malt agar medium and on rye grain.

Figure 266. P. cystidiosus on malt agar medium and on rye grain.

stvraciflua), and Asian Oaks (Quercus nuttaUL & allies).


KreshJnisn ai, , and incapable ofproducmgfertde mushrooms.

Available Strains'. Sttains are easily obtained from most culture libraries ATCC # 28599 tvpe culture , m sgiisps

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