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All About Oyster Mushrooms


Oyster Mushrooms of the Genus Pleurotus are wild growing and can be cultivated. As gourmet mushrooms they are preeminent decomposers which could also be used for some types of waste management, mostly agricultural wastes. They thrive on most all hardwods, on wood by-products (sawdust, paper, pulp sludge, all the cereal straws, corn and corn cobs, on sugar cane bagasse, coffee residues (coffee grounds, hulls, stalks & leaves), banana fronds, cottonseed hulls, agave waste, soy pulp and on other materials too numerous to mention and difficult to imagine possible. The mycelium has the unique ability to splitt the chemical structure of highly toxic PCB's (Polychloride Biphenylen) into non-toxic substances without enclosing toxics in their fruits, this way Oyster Mushrooms can be used to recultivate industrial ground contaminated by PCB's by using principles of biotechnologie. Pleurotus species can best serve to reduce hunger in developing nations, and to revitalize rural economies.

Most extraordinary about Oyster Mushrooms is their conversion of substrate mass into mushrooms. Biological efficiences often exeed 100 %, some of the greatest, if not the greatest, in the world of cultivated mushrooms. In the course of decomposing dry sraw, nearly 50 % of the mass is liberated as gaseous carbon dioxine, 20% is lost as residual water, 20 % remains as "spent" compost, and 10 % is coonverted into dry mushrooms. This yield can be also expressed as a 25 % conversation of the wet mass of the substrate into fresh mushrooms. This formula is greatly affected by the stage at which the mushrooms are harvested.

On a dry weight basis, Oyster Mushrooms have substantial protein, ranging from 15-35 % and contain significant quantities of free amino acids. They are replete with assorted vitamins such as vitamin C (30-144mg. per 100 grams) and vitamin B, niacin (109 mg per 100 grams). The variation in the reported nutritional analysis of Oyster Mushrooms is due to several factors. The protein content is affected by the type of substrate and by t he spawing media and rate. Finally strains of Pleurotus vary in their nutritional composition and yield performances.

In growing Oster Mushrooms, several valuable by-products are generated. After the crop cycle is complete, the remaining substrate is rendered into a form which can be used as feed for cattle,chickens and pigs. Using the spent straw as a nutritious food source could help replace the wasteful practice of feeding grain in the dairy and cattle industry. Feed is but one use of myceliated straw. In the end, the remaining myceliated substrate mass is an excellent ingredient for building composts and new soil. The waste straw may yield another by-product of economic importance: environmentally safe but potent nematicides.

The color of the Genus Pleurotus span the rainbow: white, blue,gray, brown, golden and pink. Some species have medicinal properties.

Information selected by Georg Dietzler October 1997

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