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 Friday, January 18, 2019
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Shiitake Mushrooms

Urban Affairs and New Nontraditional Programs


The shiitake mushroom research facilities at Alabama A&M University are located near Hazel Green, Alabama. The two enclosed buildings were purchased as portable buildings that were placed on concrete pads with built in drains. The floors were cut out of the buildings after delivery. They are heated and cooled with a window cooling/heating unit. There are windows between the front doors on the south side (the front that you see) and two windows at the north end. Fluorescent lights extend the length of the buildings. Both buildings are insulated and the insulation is covered with sheet rock and fiberglass boards. A ceiling mist system is on a daily timer. The north windows have an outflow fan to remove excess spores and increase ventilation. The house on the left is for shiitake mushroom block production.  The small entrance room is a double door entry used to reduce contamination that would enter when the outer door was open to the outside.

These shiitake logs (sweetgum) are covered by burlap to retain moisture during the summer heat.  In the background is a rainwater collection system for irrigating and soaking logs in a remote location. 

The rainwater collection system is capable of catching 85 gallons per inch of rainfall.  To soak 30 logs, about 30 gallons of water is used.  The used soak water can be diverted to other crops but not reused for soaking logs.

Several shiitake and oyster mushroom strains are being evaluated.  The remainder of the logs are part of an experiment that compares indoor, outdoor and outdoor logs which are fruited indoors and various water regimens using tap water, catchment water and no supplemental irrigation.

The shiitake production house includes several experiments and several stages of production.  The sweetgum logs in the foreground are spring (2007) inoculated logs. Some of the older logs have ribbons and are further to the back of the house. The 150-gallon tanks are used to  soak one treatment (30 logs) at a time.  The house is heated, cooled and ventilated, has fluorescent lights and an overhead mist system.

This 12 x 48-foot house holds about 600 logs with a generous amount of spacing for harvest and moving logs.  The shelves are currently about 12-inches apart, with three shelves per rack.


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