Si fc ssssssisss

may be a p rfect example that "smaller is better".

, . , finiir ptr \ The mixture is moistened and packed into heat tolerant piasuc


3 months from the time of the first flush.

This species adapts well to liquid culture techniques. I prefer to use malt agar media supplemented with 3-5 grams of alder sav/dust. Once the cultures are grown out, they are blended in a stirrer, sub-proportioned into Erlenmeyers flasks containing malt sugar, yeast, and alder (2%;.1%: .5% respectively), fermented for two days, and injected into sterilized rye grain. These liquid-inoculated grain masters are then used to inoculate sawdust for the creation of sawdust spawn which can then be used to ;noculate the fruiting substrate: sawdust/chips/bran. For further information of Shinake under liquid culture conditions, see Raaska (1990), Yang & Jong (1987) and Leatham (1983).

SuggestedAgar Media: PDYA, MYA, and OMYA with the addition of .2% of the hardwood sawdust used in the production block

1st, 2nd and 3rd Generation Spawn Media: Rye, wheat, sorghum or corn throughout for the first two generations. I recommend sawdust spawn for the third and final generation.

Substrates for Frui :ing: Broad-leaf hardwoods such as oak, ironwood, sweetgum, beech poplar, cottonwood, and aider.

The formula described on page 162 utilizing sawdust, chips, rice or rye bran, and buffered w^h gypsum is ideal for high yield, indoor production. At make-up this substrate hovers around 5.5-6.0. Prior to fruiting, the pH drops to 3.5-4.5. (The optimal range for fruiting, according to Chang & Miles (1989) falls between 4.2-4.6), Other recipes utilize a variety of supplements, including various grains, the cereal brans, most flours, tea leaves, yeast, molasses etc. For further information on formulating sawdust-based media, consult Jong (1989), Royse & Bahler (1986), San Antonio (1981) and Ando (1974). The Forest Research Institute of New Zealand published one of the first studies exploring the usefulness of pines (Finns radiata—the Monterey Pine) which produced satisfactorily yields when combined with a hardwood such as beech or poplar and supplemented with barley grain. (The ratio was 6 parts pine 3 parts hardwood: 1 part grain.)

Figure 246. 2-3 days after submersion, mushrooms form below the surface cracking the outer brown skin.

Figure 247. 4 days from the soak tank, mushrooms visibly extend beyond the surface plane of the sawdust block

Figure 148.7 days after submersion, crop is ready for harvest. This process can be repeated 4-5 times before the blocks cease production.

Recommended Containers for Fruiting: iPolypro-l^f, high density thermotolerant polyethylene —rr:ithi rac -oporousfilterp; tigk Mffed with a cotton plug. Bottle fruitings are Tray fruiTngs a la Button MushrooMfe have oeen employed with some success m he advantage of b. ig Iture iMt&ntaminants can be isolated, hmiting cross-

contamination of adjoining substrates.

zield Potentials: 1.5 to 3 lbs. of fresh mushrooms from lbs. of sawdust/chip/bran. Biological efficiency rating of 100-200% using the methods described herein.

I ■ * Hints- Humidity should be constantly fluctuated dunng fruitbody development and then lovraed to 60% rH for 6-^2 hours before the croi is harvested. I is causes the cap's leathery, oute km o1ou2hen substantially extending sh fe. I prefer to pick the mushrooms whe, e margins £stil nroUed at a S-addescent stage. However, greater yields are realized if the fru todies are ^bwed to enlarge For best results, the interests of quality vs. yield must be carefully balanced throughout the cropping process by the growing room manager Although these i isl ooms can w" istanc 1 more forceful water spray than Oyster and other

Figure 249. The "Donko" form of Shiitake can be induced by fluctuating humidity during primordia formation especially during cool, dry conditions.

Figure 250. Occasionally, a 1 lb. mushroom can be harvested from a 4 lb. block of sterilized, supplemented sawdust.

mushrooms, Shiitake gills readily bruise brownish, reducing quality (Outdoor grown Shiitake commonly has brown spots caused from insects. These damaged zones later become sites for bacterial blotch.) Mushrooms should be tri nmed flush from the surface of the blocks with a sharp knife so no stem butts remain. Dead stems are sites for mold and attracf' nsects. Thumbs should be wrapped with tape, or protected in some manner, as the pressure needed to cut through Shiitake stems is substantially greater than that of most fleshy mushrooms

Form of "roduct Sold to Market: Dried mushrooms, powdered, fresh mushrooms, and extracts. In Japan Shiitake wine. Sh "take cookies, and even Shiitake candies are marketed.

Nutritional Content: Protein 13-18%; niacin (mg./lOO g): 55; thiamin (mg./lOO g): 7.8; riboflavin (mg./lOO g): 5.0. Ash: 3.5-6.5%. Fiber: 6-15%. Fat: 2-5%.

Medicinal Properties: Lentinan, a water soluble polysaccharide (6-1,3 glucan with 6-1,6 & 6-1,3 glucopyranoside branchings) extracted from the mushrooms, is approved as an anti-cancer drug in Japan. The Japanese researcher Chihara was one of the first to publ:sh on the anti cancer properties of Shiitake, stat'ng that lentinan "was found to almost completely regress the solid type tumors of sar coma-180 and several kinds of tumors .ncluding methylchloranthrent induced fibrosarcoma in synergic host-tumour system." (Chihara, 1978, p. 809.) The mode of activity appears to be the act'va tion of killer and helper T cells.

Another heavy weight polysaccharide, called KS-2, isolated by Fujii et al. (1978) also suppressed

Sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich ascotes carcinoma in mice via oral introduction. Other protein bound fractions have shown differing degrees of antitumor activity. Clearly, there are a number of anti-tumor compounds in Shiitake besides the well known lentinan. To what degree these compounds can help the human immune system through the simple ingestion of cooked mushrooms is not clear

Studies in the United States have failed to show that extracts of Shiitake are effective against HIV in vitro. (Some Japanese studies have shown effectiveness against HIV; others have not.) Shiitake has also shown promise in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol (Kabir & Yamaguchi, 1987; Jong et al. 1991). The cholesterol lowering compound was identified as eritadenin, an adenine derivative. In the past twenty years, nearly a hundred reFigure 251. Dr. Andrew Weil happily hoius 5 ids. oi search papers have been published on the tieshly picked organically grown Shiit ike. chemical constituents of Shiitake and their health stimulating properties For more information on the medicinal properties of Shiitake, consult Mori ÏTl987) ï îjii e (1978), Jong (1991), Ladanyi et al. (1993) and Jones (1995)

Preparation and Cooking: Shiitake can be enjoyed in a wide riety of listes. A trad it lonal Japanese soup recipe calls for slicing le mushrooms and placing them in a . ated chicken bro h complemented ith chopped ! een onions [he addition of n so (oftenus iasavege- lan substi-Œh«hances theflavor. Shiitake are steef d in this soup broth for ; few imnutes an em- hot The f] vorandfi granc of slightly cooked Shiitake is tart and totally dif rcnttnanthe Svor imparted rom t : c nigh cooking. ,se restaurants usually réhydraté Shiitake and simmer

^Smt^2uBes Shiitake. Our favonte and standard method is to sauté mushrooms winch teve been torn not cut E tearing the mushrooms, cells are pulled apart along cell walls ^re-^Lheflatorwnhn.The stems are first < - tfandto nushrooms are pulled apa, : starting ¡rom rte^ut stem base Canola (rap seed)oilorsi , >ar light oil is added to the ^ ok or frying pan which is h n brl ht o hih heat Once hot the torn mushrooms are added, stirred frequently, and cooked unt lte ma ont o wate * , n ev porated. A^ik the mushrooms are bemg cooked, a distinct change i^fragrance occurs. be 3n n* ïiore, eat-like. Chopped ornons, shced walnuts or shaved almonds and oùercondime ts can e added as desire . This preparation c .be used as abase in many dishes By ad ngsth it e to steam« ^ «en andveÇaW. ^ç uhn^c_

extraon nary dimensions is created. Other dishes using hntake includes Cruz s Shiitake Quiche,

Shiitake Paté, etc. Please refer to the recipes m Chapter 24. _______

When I was a impoverished, near-starving stu dent living in a remote, unheated 'A' frame house in the boondocks, Jeff Chilion generously delivered flats of fresh ShiitaKe which I eagerly consumed, cooked and raw. (Since i was so hungry, I didn't care.) To this day SI: "take:s the only mushroom I enjoy without the benefit of cooking, fully aware that their potential nutritional contri bution is largely untapped.

Comments: By comparing Shiitake to Oyster (P. ostreatus) mushrooms, several notable similarities and differences in their growth requirements are unveiled. Shiitake can not be grown on the wide range of substrates that the highly adaptive Oyster mushrooms can exploit. Both are phototropic, with Shiitake primordia most stimulated by light exposure of 100-200 lux of green to ultra-violet at 370-420 nanometers (Ishikawa, 1967) while Oyster mushrooms maximally produce mushrooms at 2000 lux at 440-495 nanometers (Eger et al.,1974). I find that although Shiitake primordia are stimulated into formation at this low light level, the development of the fruitbody is retarded unless i;ghi levels are increased. Since primordia formation can span a week, I prefer to give the blocks the higher exposure of light initially rather than risking malformation later on. Furthermore, Shiitake produces fairly normal looking mushrooms under high carbon dioxide conditions (> 10,000 ppm) while Oyster mushrooms deform with exaggerated stems and under-developed caps. Other notable distinctions are that Shiitake have a thicker cap, a distinct cap cuticle, a lower spore load, and a markedly longer shelf than the Oyster mushroom

The cultivation of Shiitake on sterilized, supplemented sawdust calls for a set of techniques very different than for most other mushrooms. (Tne formula for production is described on page 162.) Shiitake strains are abundant, most will produce, but a few are remarkably more aggressive than oth ers. Exceptionally aggressive strains of Shiitake tend to be warm weather races, tolerant of temperatures up to 90° F. (32° C.). By employing a super-aggressive strain of Shiitake, propagating the mycelium according to the procedure outlined above, inoculating at a high rate, and using as the base medium a rapidly decomposing hardwood (red alder Alnus rubra) has allowed me to accelerate the Shiitake life cycle far faster than any which has been published to date. If the supplemented bags of sawdust are agitated 7-10 days after inoculation, primordia formation is triggered soon there after. This method causes fruitbody formation in as short as 14 days from inoculation.*

* However, agitation of partially sterilized bags often results in a contamination bloom. These same bags would otherwise be ccn ipletely colonized by the mushroom mycelium if left undisturbed With sufficiently high spawning rates (10-20% wet weight spawn/wet weight substrate) secondary shaking post inoculation is unnecessary.

Figure 252. A Shiitake wine marketed in japan.

Early formation of Shiitake has disadvantages. If the network of mycelium ^ insufficienty foraied lacking both density and tenacity, high quality mushrooms can not be supported. If allowed two weeks of colonization, top grade Shiitake is produced.

When the first crop is picked from the white blocks, they mus be carefully cut flush with the outer surfacewtth aha7knfe or chunks of the sawdust substrate will be pulled off. I prefer to hold back he S s unm 28 35 days after inoculation, allowing less than a dozen mushrooms on the first flush and then exposing the substrate to the conditions recommended for crop development.

t^XZZl^ blocks is unique and calls for a strategy totally different than forsubse-J fltt s Timmg is critical. If one is not attentive, the window of opportunity can pass. During qit;nn ¿V ^ sur*c- of the myceliated sawdust appears as a smooth flat plane, pressed flush

Hng AanTirelu r blister-like surface topography forms.* These formations are the precursors to nrimordTaTsee F gUre 240). Several days after this surface topography forms, temperatures are dropped and small brown spots form at tl e peaks of the blister, Often appressing against the interior p as& waUs the pnmordia'can form overnigl t, measuring 1-3 mm. in diameter. Shouldmore tha, a dozM mushrooms form, or if develop underneath the plastic, the crop quality greatly suffers. The cul-tivator^iust assess the maturity of the primordia population and expose the sensitive mycelium to the

^^^mycreli^ th'^"t flush sivrevapor on begins from the newly exposed crial, fluffy white mycelium. For this first flush

Si Es topically on the outer surface of the sa ,dust block the

100% under fog-like conditions until the desired number of pnmordia form. At this stage, the SM^ke blocks^are snow-white in color and dotted with several brown headed primordia. (See Figure m ^Tm from the C02 rich environment within the bag to the highly aerobic environment of the growing room signals the block to bear frui,.

S nce thes events occur rapidly and the window of opportunity is so narrow, all the skills of the cuitivato com n o play. Allowing too many primordia to form is a real prob em. The more mush-

generally the larger they will become. Despite the number of mushrooms tha fonn the y eld remains constant from a moist 6 lb. alder sawdust/chip/bran is usually 3/4 to 1 lb. of mush-

F0 OmncelbltoCakdozen mushrooms fonn, relative humidity is lowered, and air turbulence is increased to affect greater evaporation. The aerial mycelium collapses, or in mushroom lingo pans .This flat-


rharacteristic of the remainder of the block's lifespan. (See Figures 246-247). ,

After the fir^t flush, the fruiting blocks must dry out. The humidity in the growing room is lo* red to ^-50% and maintained around 70° F.(21° C.).** After 7-10 days of dormancy, the now browmng block wli'S only 3-4 lbs. of theii "ginal weight. The blocks are submerged in water (non-chlon-

* Some cultivators call this "blistering" or "popcorning"

** This fruiting strategy is specific to warm weather strains of Shiitake nated) for 24-48 hours. (If the water temperature is 45-55° F. (7-13° C.), 48 hours is recommended. If the water temperature is above 60° F.(15-16° C.) then the blocks should not be submerged for more than 24 hours.) At our farm, the blocks are so buoyant as to necessitate extraordinary efforts to keep them submerged. When the number of blocks exceed 500 the process of handling becomes too laborintensive. Some large scale cultivators use w;nch driven trolley cars on tracks that drive into the depths of soaking ponds, only to be ferried out the next day. These trolleys cars then become the growing racks during the frtfi ing cycle.

When the blocks are removed from the soak tank, they should be placed directly back into the growing room onto open-wire shelves. During transport, a forceful spray of water removes any extra neous debris, and cleans the outer surfaces. If the humidity is raised to 100% at this point in time, disaster soon results. Green molds (Trichoderma species) flourish. The constant, and at times, drastic fluctuations in humidity improve crop quality but discourage contai] nation. When Shiitake growers visit me, the most frequent remark I hear is that green molds are totally absent from the thousand or more blocks in my growing rooms.The absence of green molds is largely a function of how the growing rooms are operated on a daily basis, and minimall) nfluenced by air filtration. The key is to encourage Shiitake growth and discourage competitors by fluctuating humidity several times per day from 70-100%.The rapid evaporation off the surfaces ofthe blocks retards green mold contamination and benefits mushroom development.

At least once, preferably twice a day, the blocks are washed with a moderately forceful spray of water. (Humidifiers are turned off.) Once the crop is watered, the floor is cleaned by hosing all dirt and debris into the central gutter where it is collected and removed. After this regimen, the room feels "fresh". Three days from soaking, white, star-shaped fissures break through the outer, brown surface of ttie Shiitake block. (See Figure 246). The blocks are wafted with water every 8-12 hours. Since the humid:riers are set at 70-75%, they infrequently come on compared to the initiation strategy called for by Oyster mushrooms.

One week after soak:ng, the crop cycle begins with the picking of the first mushrooms Daily wa tering schedules are dictated by the crop's appearance. At maturii y, the moisture content of the mushrooms must be lowered before picking, a technique which will greatly extend shelf life. After the harvest is completed, the blocks are dried out for 7-10 days, after which the re-soaking process begins anew.

This cycle can be repeated several more times. After five flushes, with an accumulated yield of 2-3 lbs. of fresh mushrooms per 6-7 lbs. of sawdust/chip/bran block, the Shiiiake mycelium can produce, at most, rapidly maturing miniature mushrooms—few and far between. This is a sure sign that maximum yields have been achieved. Another way of determining whether the block is incapable of producing more mushrooms is to drop the block from waist level to a cement floor. A Shiitake block with good yield potential will strike the surface and not break apart. An expired block will burst upon impact: a direct measure of mycelial fortitude. As the mycelium iooses vitality, the tenacity ofthe mycelial mat is also lost. At completion, the blocks are 1/2 to 1/3 of their original size and are often blackish brown in color. The "spent" blocks can now recycled by pulverizing them back into a sawdust-like form. The expired Shiitake substrate is then re-sterilized for the sequential cultivation of Oyster, Ma'take, Zhu I ing or Reishi mushrooms. See Chapter 27 for more information.

Man, supplements can be used to Chang (1989) eMimned the and 1.4 % calcium catbonate gave cs&i -

was seen. In thetr, P «1^ four J* ot each fonnnla for the data

Sta™ m :. m'd yTot^stn haXood (alder; water „t, mnerals; and the is techno! gy .s transferable andoanbetanght to anyone.

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