Once the raw materials of mushroom compost are mixed together they are known as Phase I Compost. They are then filled into huge bulk polytunnels in order to create Phase II Compost. First, the mix is pasteurised at a temperature of 57°C to destroy damaging organisms, such as flies, moulds or bacteria and then the compost temperature is lowered to 48-50°C for six to seven days; a process referred to as conditioning. During this phase the nutrients in the compost are converted into a form that can be absorbed by the mushroom.
Nowadays, composting is practically always done indoors. The ammonia released during the process is nearly all treated by air washing so it cannot damage the environment. The compost is now suitable for growing mushrooms and is removed from the tunnel, mixed with spawn (laboratory produced cereal grain colonised by mushroom mycelium) and placed into a Phase III Tunnel.
Phase III – Colonising the Compost
The compost remains in the Phase III tunnel for about two weeks at a temperature of around 25°C. During this stage the mycelium on the cereal grain colonises the compost. After this period the compost is fully colonised by the mycelium. This raw material is now packaged into 20 kg blocks and palletized or transferred into a bulk carrier for transporting to the mushroom farm.
next > The first stage of cultivation
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