Cultivation of the oyster mushroom, Pleurotus sajor-caju, on rice and wheat straw without nutrient supplementation was investigated. The effects of straw size reduction method and particle size, spawn inoculation level, and type of substrate (rice straw versus wheat straw) on mushroom yield, biological efficiency, bioconversion efficiency, and substrate degradation were determined. Two size reduction methods, grinding and chopping, were compared. The ground straw yielded higher mushroom growth rate and yield than the chopped straw. The growth cycles of mushrooms with the ground substrate were five days shorter than with the chopped straw for a similar particle size. However, it was found that when the straw was ground into particles that were too small, the mushroom yield decreased. With the three spawn levels tested (12%, 16% and 18%), the 12% level resulted in significantly lower mushroom yield than the other two levels. Comparing rice straw with wheat straw, rice straw yielded about 10% more mushrooms than wheat straw under the same cultivation conditions. The dry matter loss of the substrate after mushroom growth varied from 30.1% to 44.3%. The straw fiber remaining after fungal utilization was not as degradable as the original straw fiber, indicating that the fungal fermentation did not improve the feed value of the straw.
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