Vegetable oils for offshore drilling operations (VOODOO)
About this project
This report outlines research undertaken at SAC Auchincruive to study the potential for using rapeseed meal (RSM) for the supplementation of mushroom compost.
Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) require to be grown on substrate which has a particular availability of nutrients in balance with a microbial population which both contributes to nutrient availability and provides a biochemical 'trigger' for production of edible mushrooms from the otherwise filamentous culture of mushroom hyphae.
The crop is typically grown on a composted blend of manures and straw supplemented with a range of materials to balance nitrogen / carbon ratios and to adjust texture and pH.
This project investigated whether RSM may serve such a purpose. This was achieved by supplementing proprietary compost and producing the crop under small-scale commercial conditions.
RSM failed to enhance mushroom yields in the test crop. However, biological activity of the crop, as measured by temperature profile in compost, was significantly greater than in untreated controls.
Incubation of test material together with cultures of mushroom mycelium indicated that supplied material exhibits a level of fungitoxicity against A. bisporus.
These incubation test were carried-out following conventional autoclaving of test material. Surprisingly, this procedure did not achieve sterilisation / disinfection. A proportion of cultures were contaminated by fungi and bacteria which were believed to originate from the RSM.
This indicated that while the test material appears unsuitable for mushroom supplementation it may have other potential biological applications.
RSM was incorporated as an additive to an unreplicated sample of material due for recycling by composting. This was included as a batch of material in a programme of work to study other parameters of composting science.
This batch of compost performed well in comparison to previous samples. However, firm conclusions should only be based on replicated trials which are outwith the scope of this report.
Success in supplementation of composts such as recycled green (botanical) waste or industrial composting may provide opportunities for marketing of RSM as a compost activator. The market for this type of product is rapidly expanding although trends in the sector are difficult to predict.
Recommendations are made to further determine the potential for a product of this type.
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