Developing a database of bio-markers for compost quality control to maximise mushroom production yield (MU17006)
What’s it all about?
The quality and yield of button mushroom crops is critically dependent on the quality of compost used. Beginning in June 2019, this investment is exploring how microbial populations within compost can be used to understand, measure and manipulate compost quality.
The project team’s work involves investigating microbial populations across a range of mushroom composting facilities. This includes looking at the microbial population dynamics at different points along the composting timeline, how they align with other compost quality indicators, and correlating everything back to mushroom crop yield and quality.
The research will culminate in a database of compost ‘bio-markers’ (microbe indicators) for the industry, which will be able to be used to assist in maximising productivity and crop outcomes.
Since project commencement, progress has been severely impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions, leading to a temporary pause in research activites.
Restarting in January 2021, the team focused on developing effective and reproducible compost sampling strategies.
The initial phase worked to assess changes in microbial diversity and other compost quality parameters in three successive compost crops from yards in three different States. With sampling almost complete, the analytical methods required for analysis have been optimised.
The results from this study are now being used to prepare methods for a much larger one-year study.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Mushroom Fund