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Ongoing project

Recycling spent mushroom substrate (SMS) for fertiliser in a circular economy (MU21006)

Key research provider: Frontier Ag & Environment

What's it all about?

This investment is developing models for a spent mushroom substrate (SMS) circular economy by improving the value-proposition of SMS for the end-user (primarily grain growers). The circular economy models for SMS recycling will be presented as practical case studies to equip Australian mushroom growers with an improved understanding of the options available for recycling SMS.

Previous research has found that SMS may be undervalued and highlighted the reliance of the Australian mushroom industry on wheaten straw as one of the main inputs in the production of mushroom growing substrate.

The effects of drought, climate change, changed farming practices, and increased competition from the feedstock industry have reduced the availability of wheaten straw to mushroom growers and have driven up prices.

The application of circular economy principles has the potential to strengthen linkages between the mushroom industry and grain growers. Opportunities also exist to enhance the value of SMS as a revenue stream for the mushroom industry and as an input to the sustainable production of grains. Enhanced value for the mushroom industry is likely to be found in higher returns achieved for a value-added SMS product in the marketplace. 

The research team will:

  • Review past research on SMS to establish its value proposition as a value-added product
  • Map SMS supplies with potential end-users of SMS
  • Conduct intensive consultation and demonstration trials with mushroom growers and agriculture users who are end-users of SMS.
Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Mushroom Fund