St 2nd 3rd Generation Spawn Media

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Grain-to-grain expansions The final ipawn medium can be another generation of grain spawn, or alternatively sawdust. The sawdust spawn can be used to inoculate supplemented sawdust (i.e. sawdust/chips/bran) or plugs cor outdoor cultivation on stumps or partially bur ied, vertically positioned, large diameter hardwood logs. Considering the long incubation period, cultivators are well advised to weigh the advantages of creating another generation of sawdust spawn. The advantage of the grain spawn-inoculated bags is that they produce several weeks earlier than do the sawdust-inoculated blocks. However, the quality of colonization is better pro /ided by spawn made of sawdust than from grain.

Substrates for Frui ing: Supplemented hard wood sawdust, particularly oak, poplar, cottonwood, elm, willow and alder. Alder and poplar stumps are less likely to support outdoor fruitings, given the hold competitors like

Pleurals ostreatus and lite have on that niche. For indoor cultivation, yields vary substantia 7 between various wood types. Oak is generally preferred, although strains growing on conifers are being developed.

Recommended Containers for Fruiting: Polypropylene bags with filter patches for air exchange. Polypropylene bottles and buckets have also been used.

Yie,d Potentials: 1/2 to 21bs. mushroom per 5-7 lbs. of sterilized enriched hardwood sawdust.

Harvest Hints- Relative humidity should be carefull) oweredasth fiuitfc iy develops to prevent ■ a cterial blotch, rer-watering can quickly cause the f> .itbodies to abort. The thick base should be cut to remove substrate debris. Mushrooms wrapped in rice paper, and then refrigerated have an extended shelf life up to two weeks at 35° F. (1-20 C.)

Form of Product Sold to Market: Fresh and dried mushrooms for the gourmet market. High qui ' ta Diets an g market* in the United States by Maitake, Inc. Fungi Perfecti is currently selling a tea ("Stamets 01ymF i: Rainforest Mushroom Tea") containing dried fruitb Ddies 0 mushroom^ (" or the addresses f these two companies, please refer to the Resource section on page 495.) Fresh M 'take has been inexpensive and commonly available throughout the food markets of Japan. In

Figure 338. Maitake at the perfect stage for harvest—when the leaflets fully extend. When M :take spoils, the tissue from which these leaflets aris >e-comes soft to the touch and emits a foul odor from the proliferation of bacteria.

1992, dried Maitake from Japan was fetching between $600 - $ 1200 per dry pound when sold to the medicinal mushroom market. Availability of this mushroom is expected to fluctuate wildly as demand surges in response to its rapidly increasing medicinal reputation.

Nutritional Content: Approximately 27% protein (dry weight). Producing assorted vit in ms - Vita min Bl: 1.5 mg%; Vitamin B2: 1.6 mg%; Niacin: 54 mg%; Vitamin C: 63 mg%; and Vitamin D: 410 IU. Saccharide content is near'y 50%. Assorted minerals/metals include: Magnesium at 67 mg%; Iron at 0.5 mg%; Calcium at 11.0 mg%; and Phosphorus at 425 mg%. Moisture content of fresh spe 'mens are approximately 80%, in contrast to more fleshy mushrooms which average 90% water.

Medicinal Properties: Recent, in vitro studies at the National Cancer Institute of the powdered fruitbodies (sulfated fraction) of Grifolafrondosa show significant activity against the HIV (AIDS) virus when tested through its Anti-HIV Drug Testing System under the Developmental Therapeutics Program. The National Institute of Health of Japan announced similar results in January of 1991. (The mycelium is not active.) Maitake extracts compared favorably with AZT but with no negative side effects. This is the first mushroom confirmed to have anti-HIV activity, in vitro, by both US and Japanese researchers. U.S. scientists, using similar screening techniques, have not been able to confirm the anti-HIV effects of Shiitake and Reish'. Studies with human subjects are currertly ongoing in United States, Sweden and England. As promising as these preliminary studies are, optimism must be held in check until human studies confirm activity.

One of the polysaccharide fractions responsible for the immunostimulatory activity is three branched 31.6 Glucan, known as grifolan. Thit. polysaccharide was first characterized by Ohno et al.

Figure 339. Maitake fruiting in Japan from blocks that were buried outside in soil months before.

(1985) whose team found it in both the mycelium and le mushrooms. Their work showed strong anti-tumor activity in mice against murine solid tumor, Sarcoma-180 in only 35 days, causing complete tumor regression in 1/3 to 1/2 of the trials. Alkali extracts were found to be more effective than cold or hot water infusions.

According to Chinese and Japanese reports, water extracts of this mushroom, wl.en given to mice implanted with tumors, inhibited tumor growth by more than 86%. (Nanba (1992), Ying e al (1987)) The dosage level was 1.0-10 milligrams of MWtake extract per kilogram of body weight over ten days. No studies have yet been published in ascertaining the extrapolation of this dosage level from a mouse to a human. Dr. Fukumi Morishige suggests that vitamin C be taken with Maitake

(as well as with Ganoderma lucidum) as it helps reduce the polysaccharides into smaller, more usable chains of sugars, increasing their bio-availability. .

A protein-bound polysaccharide (D-fraction) is particularly effective via oral administration. How these polysaccarides activate the mammalian immune system is unknown. However, an increase m heir rT cells has been seen with some AIDS patients. With otherAIDS patients, the decline m helper 'T'cells is interrupted. Much more research will be published in the next few years.

Other medicinal claims for this mushroom include: reduction of blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, chronic fatigue syndrome(CFS), and a wide v letyofcance . , .

For further information concerning the medicinal properties of this mushroom, refer to Adacta et al. (1987); Kabir & Yamaguchi (1987); Adachi et al, (1988), Hishida (1988);'Yamada^e al. ( 990) Nanba (1992) and Kubo et al. (1994). Also see Chemical Pharmacological Bu..etin 35(1) 198 and Japan Economic Journal (May, 1992). Articles in the popular press include Asahi Evening News, (March 12,1993), and Natural Health (May, 1993).

Flavor Preparation & Cooking: Towards the stem base, the flesh of this mushroom is thick and dens« 'and is better sliced. The upper petal-like caps are better chopped. This mushroom can be prepared in many ways, delighting the connoisseur mycophagist. Simply slicing andsauteing« la Shiitake is simple and straight-forward. This mushroom can also be baked and stuffed with shrimp, sliced almonds, spice s, and topped with melted cheese. The late Jim Roberts of Lambert Spawn once fe tie this dish featuring a 1 lb. specimen which I devoured at one sitting, making for a very satisfying meal and a sleepful night. Dried specimens can be powdered and used to make a re eshing tea. Refer to the recipes in Chapter 24 which describes several methods for prepanng Maitake.

Comments This species is delicious and much sought-after. Specimens weighing up to 100 lbs. have been collected at the base of trees, snags, or stumps. Although primarily a saprophyte, G. frondosa behaves facultatively as a p?rasite, attacking trees dying from other causes, especially elms and oaks.

From my experiences, only a few strains isolated from the wild perform under artificial conditions Those which do fruit, mature best if the environment is held constant between 55-60 h (13-16it Substantial fluctuation beyond this temperature range arrests fniitbody developi mt The best fruitings are those which form slowly and are localized from one or two sites of pnmordia formation. When Maitake is incubated outside the ideal temperature range, the fniitbody initials fail to further different!; e. Should the entire surface of the block be encouraged to form pnmordia, an aborted plateau of short folds results.

Fruitbody development passes through four distinct phases. During initiation, the mycelium first undergoes a rapid discoloration from white undifferentiated mycelium to a dark gray amorphous mass on the exposed surface of the fully colonized block. During the second phase, the surface topography soon becomes contoured with dark gray black mounds which differentiate into ball-like structures. The third phase begins when portions of this primordia ball shoot out multiple stems topped with globular structures. Each globular structure further differentiates with vertically oriented ridges or folds. The fourth and final phase begins when, from this primordial mass, a portion of the folds elongate into the petal-like sporulating fronds or "leaflets". With some strains and under some conditions, the tnird phase is skipped.

The strategy for the successful cultivation of Maiiake is in diametric opposition to the cultivation of Oyster mushrooms. If Mai take is exposed to substantial and prolonged light during the primordia formation period, the spore-producing hymenophore is triggered into production. This results in dome shaped primordial masses, devoid of stems. If, however, minimal light is given, and carbon dioxide levels rem ain above 5000 ppm, stem formation is encouraged. (Elongated stem formation with Oyster cultivation is generally considered undesirable.) Once the stems have branched and elongated to two or more inches, carbon dioxide levels are lowered, light levels are increased, signalling Maitake to produce the sporulating, petal-shaped caps. Humidity must be fluctuated between 80-95%. Maitake, being a polypore, enjoys less humid environments than the fleshier, gilled mushrooms.

If growing in polypropylene bags, the bags should be opened narrowly at the top so that a forking bouquet is elicited. Stripping off all the plastic increases evaporation from the exposed surfaces of the block, jeopardizing the moisture bank needed for successful fruitbody development. In my growing rooms, I follow a compromise strategy. Given good environmental controls and management, I am successful at growing Maitake by fully exposing the upper surface of the mycelium once the gray primordial mounds have formed 45-60 days after inoculation I leave the remainder of the plastic around the block to amerliorate the loss of water Holes are punched in the bottom of the bags for drainage.

As the mushrooms develop, less watering is needed in comparison to that needed by, for instance, Oyster mushrooms. Furthermore, cultivators should note that if too much base nutrition of the substrate is allocated to stem formation, the caps often abort. And, if the sawdust is over-supplemented, bacteria blotch is triggered by the slightest exposure to excessive watering or humidity. Every strain behaves differently in this regard. Maitake cultivation requires greater attention to detail than most other mushrooms. Because of its unique environmental reqi dements, this mushroom can not share the same growing room as many of the fleshier gourmet and medicinal mushrooms.

Once the production blocks cease producing, they can be buried outside in hardwood sawdust and/ or soil. In outdoor environments, the subterranean block becomes a platform for more fruitings, maximizing yield. Blocks planted in the spring often give rise to fruitings in the fall. (See Figure 339). The autoclavable, plastic should be removed—unless made of cellulose or other biodegradable material. By scratching the outer surfaces of the blocks, the internal mycelium comes into direct contact with the sawdust bedding, stimulating leap-off.

Pöbmorus umbellatus Fries

Figure 340. P. umbellatus mycelia 4 ana iu aays auer * " °

Pöbmorus umbellatus Fries

Figure 340. P. umbellatus mycelia 4 ana iu aays auer * " °

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