Animal Feed, and Forest Restoration Workshop


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Our goal is a SCZ Native NM Fungi Culture Bank

Our August Workshop: Mushrooms, Animal Feed, and Forest Restoration, was designed by Ivanka Milenkovic, PhD in mycology, to show us how to take a biomass such as wood wastes from small diameter trees and, in laboratory conditions, begin to grow mushroom mycellium on it.

We started with four types of New Mexico wood trees, Ponderosa Pine, Pinõn Pine, Juniper, and Chinese Elm, as seen in the photo at left.

If this wood substrate method is productive in the laboratory, we can use it for later innoculation of the wood wastes in the field. If it fails under laboratory conditions (either the substrate is not appropriate or the fungi is not the best, etc.) then it will be difficult if not impossible to do in the field.

Ivanka, Robert Haspel, and our advisory council member Loren Allen visited the Earthworks mushroom project in New Mexico where they hope to grow oyster mushrooms bought from a catalog and using water hyacynths from a septic waste wetlands project as the substrate. The Earthworks project was started by ZERI International.

First the petri dishes are filled with wet sawdust substrate from each of the four wood types we chose to test. Several other wood types were tested later. We will continue to test and report results. Those results and the description of Ivanka's workshop at the Picuris Pueblo will be discussed later on page 2.

To avoid contamination of the cultures by other fungi or bacteria, fungal mycelium is isolated from the interior of mushrooms and is propagated using sterile techniques.

The new SCZ Fungi Culture laboratory looks small, but has all the necessary equipment for selecting and growing mushroom mycellium types. Janette and Will Fischer, our PhD biologists, will be working and running the lab and our mushroom project.

After a week, we looked at our petri dishes to see how well the mycellium grew in each wood type. By this method we can discover which woods are the best in nature.

The mycellium in the Chinese Elm substrate grew the fastest. In this photo, the mycellium are barely visible as white threads in the top part of the dish. Recent evidence indicates that Salt Cedar and Russion Olive wood substrates are the next best. And the Pleurotus ostreatus is now growing well on ponderosa and pinõn pine trees after a slow start for both.

We searched for mushrooms at Picuris Pueblo as well as elsewhere. In the photo, Ivanka is selecting a mushroom from a fallen log. Cryptoporus volvatus mushrooms are growing on the dead pinõn pine tree that is still standing. Photos by Will Fischer © 2004.

The oyster mushroom, above left, was found in the Picuris Pueblo forest. It is being held in front of a dark shirt. The one, above right, was found in the Mora Forest. Photo at right by Will Fischer © 2004.

Please note that these photos should not be used to identify mushrooms found in the wild. It is unsafe to eat any wild mushrooms that have not been identified by an expert as an edible species.

Pleurotus ostreatus is the well liked, edible oyster mushroom. This oyster mushroom will be especially useful as it is native to New Mexico. Stumps and dead trees can nourish valuable, great tasting, and nutritious mushrooms. In addition, after the mushrooms have grown on it, the spent substrate is a very rich soil supplement for forest restoration and may be useful as animal feed for ruminants. But this assertion must be tested in New Mexico. As reported in Ivanka's paper #2, spent wheat straw substrate was nutritious for cattle and dairy cows.

To grow oyster mushrooms for market, SCZ would use a mushroom shed, putting small branches from the forest into the shed and innoculating them with our known pleurotus mycellium. This method would be more efficient for gathering and packaging the mushrooms.

Examples of some of the mushrooms we found. The 2nd from left photo shows a cluster of Coprinus atramentarius. Photos by Will Fischer © 2004.

In Mora Forest we were led by John Harrington, head of the Mora Forest Research Station, an extension of NM State University. This began the process of collecting native mushrooms, preserving in the agar base in a petri dish, growing the mycellium in this base, and then using the native species to innoculate different wood types with different native fungi types. Photo by Will Fischer © 2004.

Isaac Fischer holds up a gigantic Tricholoma mushroom found in the Mora Forest. Photo by Will Fischer © 2004.

Here is the link to Mushroom, Feed Supply, Forest Restoration - Page 2

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Sustainable Communities/ZERI-NM
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Sustainable Communities/ZERI-NM is a public 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

This page was last updated on September 22, 2004

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Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs are © 2001-2004 Lynda Taylor.