We at Nutrigain are at the leading edge in the production of 3rd generation nutrients to add to growing mushroom crops to increase yield, quality, dry matter and speed up timing. We call them complements because they improve and enhance your mushroom crop.
- Why 3rd generation you ask?
When growers first starting producing mushrooms more than two centuries ago, the focus was on the compost composition as a food source. Then in the 1960’s some ground breaking work from Sinden et al created the second generation in the form of cross-linked protein sources like soya beans reacted with formaldehyde. These products are extensively used in the mushroom industry today as a standard commodity being added to the compost typically just before filling growing rooms.
Originally Nutrigain started research work in 2000 to develop an organic supplement without the need for any chemicals for denaturing the protein source and from this, came Organic Gold which we still market today. Another useful advantage is that heat production is 40% less than other supplements making it much easier to manage and control damaging high compost temperatures.
It was during this research work, that we discovered the ‘inefficiencies’ of the mushroom mycelium feeding process. Mushrooms are very much like ourselves as humans in that they have to break down the large molecules in the compost food source by the secretion of enzymes at the hyphal tips (roots). This process takes time, which was fine when we had long cropping cycles of 8-10 weeks, but now in the 21st century we expect to produce high yields and high quality in as little as 4 weeks.
It became obvious to us from our research, that in order to improve productivity further, it was not necessarily the nutrient source, but its availability and this put us on the path of using liquid technologies which was a totally unique approach to the mushroom industry and still is. The basis was using small doses of carboxylic acid salts and this was subsequently patented in mushroom growing countries around the world. Our research at that time pointed to applying nutrition in the casing zone near to the pins, hence we talk about the 3rd generation of mushroom nutrition.
This 3rd generation complement is called Organic MycroNutrient which is organically certified in numerous countries, has the major advantage of being able to be applied at multiple times during the crop to “top up” for shortages that occur naturally during the crop cycle. We have scientifically proven that there is a natural decline in ‘available’ nutrition after 1st flush. Currently we apply at key points when the mycelium is feeding during the vegetative phase either in case run or early pinning and then topping up between the flushes right when and where it is needed.
Our work has corroborated scientifically with two mushroom scientists involved in the UK mushroom science research for many years at GCRI and HRI; namely Dr Kerry Burton and Dr Ralph Noble.
Nutrigain has also developed and manufactures a natural safe disinfectant and disinfestant (fly control) for mushroom growers called Sporekill .This product has been on the market for over 15 years and is a safe alternative to aldehydes, quats and phenols.
Unlike other disinfectants, Sporekill is registered as a plant protection product (PPP), giving it the flexibility to be permitted to contact the cropping surface directly through drenching eg at the beginning of crop cycle after filling or indirectly by fogging rooms during case run or between flushes. Testing was carried out by Dr Helen Grogan at Teagasc in Ireland and residues were proven to be benign and at very low levels. Uses include disinfecting walls, shelves, machinery, footdips and it is particularly effective on floors where steam has its limitations. Sporekill use has been extended to crate washing, protecting crop surfaces after room filling and as a disinfestant for controlling flies by spraying on walls/around door frames or by fogging.