Feeding growing button mushrooms: The role of substrate mycelium to feed the first two flushes

Anton S.M. Sonnenberg*, Johan J.P. Baars, Gerben Straatsma, Patrick M. Hendrickx, Ed Hendrix, Chris Blok, Arend van Peer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


A number of experiments were done to further our understanding of the substrate utilization in button mushroom crops (Agaricus bisporus). An analysis of the degradation of dry matter of the substrate during a crop cycle revealed that for pin formation the upper 1/3rd layer is used, for the production of flush one all layers are involved and for flush two mainly the lower 1/3 layer is used. A reduction in substrate depth leads to a decrease in yield/m2 but an apparent increase in yield per tonne of substrate with a lower mushroom quality. A short daily interruption of the connection between the casing soil with the substrate results in a delay of the first flush. Interruptions with only part of the substrate did not lead to delay in production. Daily interruption of the connection with all or only part of the substrate leads to a shift in yield from flush one to flush two but the total yield remains unchanged. The mycelial biomass in the substrate increases from filling up to pinning, has a steeper increase during flush one, and is levelling off during flush two, indicating that in the period of venting and up to/including flush one, enzymes are secreted by growing hyphae generating nutrients to feed a fixed amount of mushroom biomass for two flushes. A sidewise extension of the substrate (without casing soil, thus not producing mushrooms) showed that the substrate at a distance more than somewhere between 20–50 cm away from the casing soil does not contribute to feeding mushrooms in the first two flushes. The observations are discussed with respect to relevant previous research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0270633
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7 July
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2022


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