To find a cost effective alternative substrate, Pleurotus cornucopiae 608 (yellow basidiomata) was grown on: (1) chopped, pasteurized switch grass (Panicum virgatum, 99%) with 1% ground limestone and (2) a mixture of pasteurized cottonseed hulls (75% dry wt.), 24% chopped wheat straw, and 1% ground limestone (all ingredients wt./wt.). The substrates were spawned at various levels (2.5%, 3.75% or 5% wet wt., crop I) and non-supplemented or supplemented with commercial delayed release nutrient (Campbell's S-41) at various levels (0%, 1.5%, 3%, 4.5%, 6%, 7.5% and 9% dry wt., crop II). Maximum yield (weight of fresh mushrooms harvested at maturity) was obtained on cottonseed hull/wheat straw substrate at a 3.75-5% spawn level and 6% S-41 supplement. On switch grass substrate, increasing spawn levels and supplement levels stimulated yields in a linear fashion. However, maximum yields were only 46% or less for those of similar treatments on cottonseed hull/wheat straw substrate. Yields were three times higher on switch grass that was harvested after the grass had senesced (winter; beige color) compared to material that was harvested when the grass was green (summer; time of flowering). Additional physical processing of the material, such as milling, may improve yield potential of this material.
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