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Optimization of the cultivation conditions for mushroom production with European wild strains of Agaricus subrufescens and Brazilian cultivars




The almond mushroom Agaricus subrufescens (formerly Agaricus blazei or Agaricus brasiliensis) is cultivated at commercial level in Brazil and some Asian countries on local substrates and casing mixtures. Despite its tropical origin, A. subrufescens might be a seasonal option for mushroom growers in western countries, where some wild strains have been isolated. For this purpose, cultivation conditions were developed starting from the substrate and casing mixture commonly used for commercial production of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus in France.


The commercial compost, based on wheat straw and horse manure, used for A. bisporus and the casing mixture (peat and limestone) supplemented with fine sand proved efficient to grow A. subrufescens. Increasing the depth of the casing layer improved significantly the yield and time to fruiting. Daily variations in temperature did not markedly modify the yield. Significantly higher mushroom biomass was obtained with three wild European strains compared with three Brazilian cultivars. The very productive wild strain CA438-A gave mushrooms of size and dry matter content comparable to those of a cultivar.


Commercial production of A. subrufescens can be developed in western countries on the wheat straw-based substrate commonly used for A. bisporus in these regions, by a simple modification of the casing mixture and maintaining the incubation temperature throughout the crop, which is expected to save energy during summer. Good yields were obtained cultivating European strains under optimised parameters. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry