Source: FAO 2001
Problems and solutions in the mushrooms cultivation including:
a/ Mycelium fails to form
- Improper initiation strategy. Solutions: consult parameter of growth. Alter moisture, temperature, light, carbon-dioxide, etc. Note: If the substrate is too moist, decrease moisture
- Chlorinated or contaminated water. Solutions: Use activated charcoal water filters to eliminate chemical contaminants or any other ways of simple or appropriate technology.
- Bad substrate. Solutions: Check substrate. Spread the substrate and remix the substrate, package again, make sure all raw materials are good and fresh. Note: It is necessary to pasteurize immediately after bagging otherwise fermentation gas will slow down the rate of growth of mycelium or stop mycelium growth.
- Bad pasteurization. Solutions: Check method of pasteurization. Release all air and make sure there is continuous steam before starting pasteurization for a period of 3h.
- Substrate in the bag is too hot when inoculation. Solution: Make sure that the substrate bag is not too hot before inoculation
- Bad strain or spawn. Solution: Obtain younger strain of known vitality and history
- Spawn contaminated. Solution: Pasteurize and inoculate again with good spawn
- Forgot to inoculate the bag. Solution: Make sure to inoculate
b/ Poor spread of mycelium, bad smell, spots, and mites
- Good pasteurization but must decrease the temperature in the pasteurization chamber. Solutions: Slowly decrease the temperature in the chamber. Do not open the cover of the chamber too quickly. Check that the cotton plug is tightly closed.
- Pasteurization was too quick and/or the chamber door was opened too quickly. Solutions: Inoculation process Inoculate in hygiene conditions; clean and with no air movement.
- Too high density in the incubation area, not enough ventilation to decrease accumulated temperature. Solutions: Spread the substrate bag and make more air ventilation in the incubation area. Check temperature and control surroundings to maintain of 25 to 35°C
- Too high carbon-dioxide. Solutions: Not more than 5% carbon dioxide. Check ventilation.
- Hygiene of the incubation house. Solution: Improve hygiene in the incubation house.
- Mycelium develops in patches. Substrate is not evenly prepared, and some part shave more nutrients than others. Solution: Mix well the substrate.
- Bacteria, other fungi contamination. Solutions: Check the process causing contamination. Separate contaminated bags as soon as possible. Remix substrate separately. Remake substrate bags and pasteurize for a longer time. Follow process.
- Mite contamination. Solutions: Immediately separate contaminated bags and pasteurize again. Continue the normal process. Note:Keep hygiene management; make sure to clean everything (person,area,tools, equipment, and surroundings during every step. Stop using the area to cut the life cycle of all contaminants for a period of at l least 1 to 2 weeks. For serious contamination cases, spray area with chemicals. Use black-light with water or sticky-trap to decrease insects.
c/ Mycelium grows but fails to produce mushrooms
- Substrate formula is not suitable. Solutions: Adjust the formula; check pH, sawdust, additives, etc…
- Mites , mold, virus, bacteria and insects. Solution: Check pasteurization process, inoculation, other processes and mushroom house management for hygiene.
- Inhibited by environmental toxins. Solution: Remove source of toxins
- Bad strain or Shawn. Solution: Acquire news trains
d/ Mushrooms form, but abort or delay mushrooming
- Primodia and growth condition of fruiting body are not good enough. Solutions: Check temperature and humidity. Open or close doors and window to adjust accordingly.
- There is contamination such as mold, bacteria, insects, worms, and mites. Solutions: Check hygiene, adjust environment of light, temperature, humidity, and ventilation. In more severe cases, use half a tea spoon of sulfur in 3.5l of water. Mist the bags and the surface of mushrooms. Remove contaminated bags from mushroom house and recycle.
- Chemical contamination from solvents, gas, chlorine, etc…Solution: Remove toxins.
- Bad strain. Solution: Acquire a new strain or find a new supplier
e/ Mushrooms form, but stems are long; caps underdeveloped
- Inadequate light. Solutions: Increase or adjust light to correct wavelength
- Excessive carbon-dioxide. Solutions: Increase air exchange, open doors or windows and close at correct time
f/ Massive numbers of mushrooms form; few develop
- Too longtime incubation. Solutions: Shorten the period for the formation of primordia.
- Lack of oxygen, inadequate light. Solutions: Increase air ventilation and open more windows or doors to receive more light.
- Inadequate substrate nutrition or low quality. Solutions: Reformulate or check raw materials.
- Low rate mycelium growth. Solutions: Use the high rates pawn or adjust good conditions for rate of growth.
- Poor strain. Solution: Obtain better strain.
g/ Mushrooms are deformed, decay an die.
- Disturbed by germs or competing microorganisms. Solutions: Adjust mushroom house to favor mushrooms and not germs and competitors.
- Dirty surface of substrate bags. Solution: Clean the surface of substrate.
- Not enough air ventilation, too high humidity. Solutions: Increase air circulation. Reduce humidity to the prescribed levels. Surface water must evaporate from mushrooms several times per day. Check watering if there is water in bags, pierce bags and drain water.
- Bad strain. Solution: Acquire better strain.
- Use of chemicals during this period. Solution: Never use chemicals during the fruiting stage
h/ Mushrooms produced only in the first flush, fail to produce subsequent flushes
- Inadequate substrate nutrition. Solution: Substrate: Reformulate.
- Competitors. Solutions: Check hygiene; adjust light, temperature, humidity, air, and ventilation.
- Poor growing house management. Solution: Improve management.
- Bad strain. Solution: Acquire new strain
i/ Mushrooms small sized
- Too many mushrooms coming out at the same time. Solutions: Reduce the size of opening(s)
- Lack of nutrients in substrate. Solution: Review quality of substrate.
- Change of weather. Solution: Beware of wide range changes in temperature.
- Spawn unhealthy. Solution: Check origin of spawn.
J/ Pests and insects
- Natural occurrence, humid climate. Solutions: Place lemon grass plants around mushroom house. Spread lime on shelves, on poles, and ground in the mushroom house. Clean (and maintain clean) the mushroom house properly.
- Mushroom waste lying around mushroom house. Solution: Try to use the waste as fertilizer or recycle
- Ants. Solution: Mix detergent with water and place on their paths. Do not put on mushroom
k/ Mushrooms are light in weight.
- Shortage of water. Solutions: Check humidity of mushroom
l/ Mushroom quickly spoils
- Mushrooms too mature when harvested. Solution: Harvest when younger.
- Mushrooms too warm before packaging. Solution: Chill mushrooms before placing in marketing containers.
- Mushrooms too wet when harvested. Solutions: Reduce humidity several hours before harvesting.
- Mushrooms stored beyond shelflife. Solutions: Sell mushrooms faster.
m/ Rotting spot on the mushroom fruiting body because of bacteria during flush
- Bacteria (Pseudomonas tolaasii, Pseudomonas fluorescens) on Oyster mushroom. Solutions: Control humidity in the mushroom house and maintain 80–85%. Give enough time for water to evaporate from mushroom surfaces before further watering. For severe cases, use 113g chlorine mixed in 45l of water or 4oz of chlorine per gallon of water.