The mushroom industry in Catalonia has innovated in the elaboration of mushrooms. They have marked a new milestone by diversify the variety of edible mushrooms. In this way they have achieved their cultivation regardless of the seasonal time. Do you want to know more details? We tell you.
Edible mushrooms accessible throughout the year
No more waiting for a certain time of year to consume your edible mushrooms favourites. Like forget about having to travel for it. All this thanks to the mushroom industry in Catalonia. You got a historical milestone! Managing to diversify your offer. Is about two lignicolous varieties, that is to say that they grow on the wood or the trunks of the trees. These are: hepatic fistulin, better known as ox tongue, and the giant polypore o Meriplus giganteus. Two examples, so far, tied to the seasonality and productivity of the forests.
But that was before the Institute for Research and Technology in Agrifood (IRTA) has met the ideal conditions for its cultivation. Yours and that of another six more! In which are included: the poplar mushroom; the pipe; the leafy polypore; the added lyophile; oyster mushroom; and the pheasant back mushroom. This has been achieved after two intense years of research. Time in which the main objective was to achieve the first indigenous edible mushroom crops. But it can already be said that "they are ready for commercial production with success guarantees” assured Joan Pera, IRTA researcher.
how has this been achieved?
The project started with a analysis and collection of lignicolous fungi, carried out by the Catalan Society of Mycology. The next step was taken by researchers from IRTA isolating the collected specimens. From this sample it was possible to test the methods of producing the seed of fungi and mushrooms. As well as the coptimal growing conditions of each species. “We designed a mixture of wheat, rye, sorghum and water suitable for the production of seed in almost all strains" explained Pera.
The second part of the process consisted of carrying out the industrial production protocols. Once the first results were obtained, their nutritional and organoleptic characteristics. Concluding that "no significant differences in composition of proteins, sugars or fats between the mushrooms of the forest and our crops”, assures Pera. Furthermore, he adds that not only are there no important differences, but there are advantages. Like, for example, deseasonalize mushroom picking.
In this way, it allows collection of edible mushrooms at their ripening time ideal. Thus ensuring greater food safety. "In some species, such as Laetiporus sulphureus or Sparassis crispa, we only need one last step to find the best conditions for reproduction in their habitat and we have high hopes that we will make it." Therefore, the bank of strains of the IRTA will continue to work actively in new native crops. Always hand in hand with Bolet Ben Fet.
A sustainable technique
Traditionally, the production of autochthonous mushrooms in Catalonia has been, practically non-existent. Therefore, in a context of increased consumption of mushrooms in Catalonia and in Europe in general, this new alternative constitutes a Market opportunity. From which you have to take advantage of the competitive advantage. However, not only the economic benefit matters. If not, it transcends a progress in sustainability in the management of forest resources.
So much so that the agronomic cultivation of these species implies a reduction in collecting pressure on their natural populations. Because: decreases environmental impact of the harvest, preserves biodiversity and the role played by mushrooms in biogeochemical cycles. “Mushrooms are essential for recycling elements that are difficult to degrade, such as lignin, and close the cycle of regeneration of forests” highlights Joan Pera.
This innovation is a before and after in the production of mushrooms. This new technique eliminates the natural barriers involved in its production. In other words, it allows us to forget the ideal growing season, due to its timelessness. As well as from distance, because they are grown locally. Likewise, it represents an advance in the environmental solutions plan. In addition, it is an honor that has been achieved in Catalonia. And you? Is this new milestone a big change for you?