How light will impact your mushroom yield

Not everything is blue or red or as they usually say, black or white.

If light increases your yield or not depends on three things

  1. On the mushroom species, you are growing
  2. The strain you chose
  3. The phase the mushroom is in

In this article, I will talk about what kind of light works for which mushroom species, especially for the following ones

  • Lentunila edodes
  • Pleurotus ostreatus
  • Pleurotus erygnii
  • Hypsizygus Marmoreus

I do this by grouping the findings together according to the mushroom phase for each of the mushroom species[1].

  • Spore germination
  • Mycelium running
  • Primordia Formation
  • Fruiting Body Development

Let’s get started.

Effect of light on Pleurotus ostreatus

Effect of light on the spore germination of Pleurotus ostreatus.

In a relatively recent study[2], the author investigated the influence of different color lights on the spore germination on various mushroom species. One of them was Pleurotus ostreatus.

The researcher found that illumination with red light only increased the percentage of total spore germination of Pleurotus ostreatus (Fig. 1).

spore photosensitivity of pleurotus ostreatus

Figure 1: Spore photosensitivity of Pleurotus ostreatus[3]

As figure 1 indicates. Blue and green light suppresses the germination of Pleurotus ostreatus.

Effect of light on the mycelium growth of Pleurotus ostreatus.

Again, blue light suppresses the growth of mycelium of Pleurotus ostreatus (Fig. 2).

In this research, the mycelium was illuminated with 6 to 105 μmol/m2*s (PPFD) for 7 days in a row (Fig. 2 from top to bottom).

As shown in this figure. The higher the intensity, the higher the suppression of the growth of Pleurotus ostreatus. Which means there is a dose sensitivity.

Suppression effect of blue light stimulation on the growth of Oyster mushroom mycelia

Figure 2: Suppression effect of blue light stimulation on the growth of Oyster mushroom mycelia[4]

The impact of the irradiation dose was investigated by another study done in 2019. The researcher illuminated the mycelium with a blue, red, and green light for different durations and measured the radius of the mycelium colonies.

As figure 3 shows the highest growth of Pleurotus ostreatus was achieved with the green light (10 s).

Influence of laser irradiation on the average rate of radial growth of Pleurotus ostreatus mycelium

Figure 3: Influence of laser irradiation on the average rate of radial growth of Pleurotus ostreatus mycelium[5]

The same figure also indicates that there is actually no suppression of the blue light, as mentioned in the previous study. How could that be possible?

We find the answer in the respective dose of the studies.

In the first study, they illuminated the mycelium with 6 to 105 μmol/m²*s (PPFD).

The dose in the second study was between 0 and 102.5 mJ/cm².

As 1 μmol/m2*s is 1.2 x 10-1 J/m²*s[6], and we know the duration of the second test, we can convert those numbers.

For example, with 51.5 mJ/cm² and 10 s, we will get 6.1 μ mol/m²*s. Which is the just starting point of the first study. Even if we go to the maximum time (20 s), we will only end up with 12.2 μmol/m²*s, which is the second data point of the first test. Which shows only a small suppression.

Effect of light on the development of the fruiting body of Pleurotus ostreatus.

In the next study[7], the authors illuminated the fruiting bodies with fluorescent lamps for different durations (6, 10, 14 hours) and different intensity (100, 300, 500, 700 lx).

It could be shown that the longer the illumination (here 14 hours) and or higher the intensity (here 700 lx), the higher the yield of Pleurotus eryngii (Fig. 4 and Fig 5.).

Pleurotus ostreatus_Yield of strain PX in relation to period of lighting

Figure 4: Yield of Pleurotus ostreatus in relation to the period of lighting[8]

Pleurotus ostreatus_pulmonarius_Yield of different strains in relation to intensity of lighting

Figure 5: Yield of Pleurotus ostreatus and Pleurotus pulmonarius in relation to the intensity of lighting[9]

In the last study, the author[10] used different color lighting to illuminate Pleurotus ostreatus and investigated the impact on the yield (Fig. 6).

It could be shown that illumination with red and blue increased the weight of Pleurotus ostreatus by 35 % in comparison with the control (no light) and 12 % in comparison with an incandescent lamp.

Effect of LED light on the weight of fresh fruiting bodies of Pleurotus ostreatus _yo2011

Figure 6: Effect of LED light on the weight of fresh fruiting bodies of Pleurotus ostreatus[11]

The effect of light on the appearance of the pinheads can be seen in the following video. In it I talk about the use of different light sources to influence the growth of fruiting bodies of Pleurotus ostreatus.

Effect of light on Pleurotus eryngii

Effect of light on the development of the fruiting body of Pleurotus eryngii

The same author of the last study also investigated the impact of LED light on the growth of Pleurotus eryngii. It was found that blue light suppresses to some extent, the growth of Pleurotus eryngii (Fig. 7).

Effect of LED light on the weight of fresh fruiting bodies of Pleurotus eryngii_yo2011

Figure 7: Effect of LED light on the weight of fresh fruiting bodies of Pleurotus eryngii[12]

To the same conclusion came the next author (Fig. 8). He used several different LED lights and analyzed the quality characteristics of Pleurotus eryngii.

The best result (+13 %) was achieved with a red light (650 nm) while not losing the overall quality of the mushroom itself.

The light intensity was between 64.9 and 108 μmol/m²s.

Impact of different LED lights on the fresh weight of fruiting bodies of Pleurotus eryngii

Figure 8: Impact of different LED lights on the fresh weight of fruiting bodies of Pleurotus eryngii[13]

Here is a video in which I talk about the influence of light on the physicochemical and sensory qualities of Pleurotus eryngii, known as the king oyster mushroom.

Effect of light on Lentunila edodes

Effect of light on the spore germination of Lentunila edodes

The same author who investigated the impact of different LED lights on the spore germination of Pleurotus ostreatus also tested the setting for Lentinula edodes.

As shown in figure 9, the best results could be achieved with a blue and red light at a dose of 230 mJ/cm².

Again, the use of green light suppresses the germination process of Lentunila edodes.

spore photosensitivity of lentunila edodes

Figure 9: Spore photosensitivity of Lentunila edodes[14]

Effect of light on the mycelium growth of Lentunila edodes

The author of the next study used different LED lights to increase the biomass of Lentinula edodes mycelium.

It could be found that green light illuminated for only 1 min/day could increase the dry biomass of Lentinula edodes by around 50 % in comparison to the control (Fig. 10).

Dry biomass of Lentunila edodes mycelia grown under exposure to different LED light sources

Figure 10: Dry biomass of Lentunila edodes mycelia grown under exposure to different LED light sources at 0.35 W/m² and 1 min/d exposure[15]

Effect of light on the development of the fruiting body of Lentunila edodes

The next study investigated not only different light sources but also the impact if the mushrooms were grown of low calcium medium and high calcium medium.

The study found that on low-calcium medium, only red-light lead to the development of fruiting bodies of Lentinula edodes (Fig. 11).

Effect of LED light on development of Lentunila edodes on low-calcium medium

Figure 11: Effect of LED light on the development of Lentunila edodes on low-calcium medium (36 ppm)[16]

On the high-calcium, red-light was not sufficient, and blue light was needed in order to develop fruiting bodies of Lentinula edodes (Fig. 12).

Effect of LED light on development of Lentunila edodes on high-calcium medium

Figure 12: Effect of LED light on the development of Lentunila edodes on high-calcium medium (A: 168 ppm + 8 ml/L bark extract, 138 ppm, 138 ppm + 8 ml/L bark extract)[17]

Effect of light on Hypsizygus Marmoreus

Effect of light on the development of the fruiting body of Hypsizygus marmoreus

The following study investigated the effect of LED lights on the development of the fruit body in Hypsizygus marmoreus.

The authors found that with blue or green light, they could increase the yield per bottle of Hypsizygus marmoreus (Fig. 13) while keeping the commercial yield higher but at the cost of the color (L*value: not shown).

Effect of LED lights on development of fruit body in Hypsizygus marmoreus (yield)

Figure 13: Effect of LED lights on the development of fruit body in Hypsizygus marmoreus (yield)[18]

The next study investigated the light intensity on the yield of Hypsizygus marmoreus and found that the higher the light intensity, the higher the yield of Hypsizygus marmoreus (Fig. 14).

Effect of light intensity using blue LED on developing process in Hypsizygus marmoreus

Figure 14: Effect of light intensity using blue LED on developing process in Hypsizygus marmoreus[19]

But at a certain point, the increase of the light intensity does not lead to a higher yield.

How can I measure PPFD?

If you want to measure the PPFD of your light, then you need a PAR/PPFD meter that can measure the photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD). The PPFD gives us the number of photons in micromol per sq. meter and second.

One of them Meters that you can use is the Apogee MQ 500. A hand-held meter, attached via a cable, which gives you enough flexibility. 

Figure 15: Apogee MQ 50

It is easy to use. You place the sensor (Fig. 15: blue) under your lighting and turn the reader on. Then move the sensor over the area.

If you do that you will get something similar to figure 16. For example, you can measure at a distance of 12 feet (m) and using a 2 x 2 ft grid or even 4 x 4 ft grid depending on the area you want to illuminate.

Doing so gives you a better understanding of the distribution of the light.

PAR Meter Map - Readings micromol per sq. meter and second

Figure 16: Example of a PAR Meter Map

Effect of light on different mushroom species (summary)

I hope, in my article, I could show to you that not everything is blue or red, but the perfect light for your mushroom depends on the fungus itself and the phase it is in.

In the table below, I summarized all the data I found during my research.

You will find additional information not only about the mentioned mushrooms in my article but also about different mushrooms as well.

Mushroom species Mushroom phase Treatment Result Literature
Lentunila edodes Mycelium Dark, Red (645), Green (515), Blue (465) Exposure time: 0, 1, 5, 30, 60 min/day Light intensity: 0.44, 0.88, 1.77, 3.10, 6.66 W/m² Green > Blue > Red > Dark   Dry weight at 0.35 W/m² + 50% with green light   Green light 1 min/day Glukhova 2011
Lentinula tigrinus Mycelium Red, Green, Blue, Fluorescent, Dark Highest growth: blue light
No difference on the density
Damaso 2018
Pleurotus ostreatus Mycelium Red, Green, Blue, control
5, 10, 15, 20 s
Best growth: 10 s green light Reshetnyk 2019
Pleurotus ostreatus Mycelium Blue light 120 hours illumination with 6 to 105 μmol/m²s Suppression of the growth phase
15 genes upregulated 13 genes downregulated
Nakano 2010
Agaricus bisporus Spore germination Red (632.8), Green (514.5), Blue (488)
45, 230, 650 mJ/cm²
Red light best result
Green suppresses Blue suppresses for some species No difference between continuous and intermittent illumination
Poyedinok 2015  
Flammulina velutipe Spore germination Red (632.8), Green (514.5), Blue (488)
45, 230, 650 mJ/cm²
Red light best result
Green suppresses Blue suppresses for some species No difference between continuous and intermittent illumination
Poyedinok 2015  
Ganoderma lucidium Spore germination Red (632.8), Green (514.5), Blue (488)
45, 230, 650 mJ/cm²
Red light best result
Green suppresses Blue suppresses for some species No difference between continuous and intermittent illumination
Poyedinok 2015  
Ganoderma aplanatum Spore germination Red (632.8), Green (514.5), Blue (488)
45, 230, 650 mJ/cm²
Red light best result
Green suppresses Blue suppresses for some species No difference between continuous and intermittent illumination
Poyedinok 2015  
Hericium erinaceus Spore germination Red (632.8), Green (514.5), Blue (488)
45, 230, 650 mJ/cm²
Red light best result
Green suppresses Blue suppresses for some species No difference between continuous and intermittent illumination
Poyedinok 2015  
Lentinula edodes Spore germination Red (632.8), Green (514.5), Blue (488)
45, 230, 650 mJ/cm²
Red light best result
Green suppresses Blue suppresses for some species No difference between continuous and intermittent illumination
Poyedinok 2015  
Pleurotus ostreatus Spore germination Red (632.8), Green (514.5), Blue (488)
45, 230, 650 mJ/cm²
Red light best result
Green suppresses Blue suppresses for some species No difference between continuous and intermittent illumination
Poyedinok 2015  
Hypsizyjus Marmoreus Primordia Blue (450), 3.47 μmol/m²s (30 lx)
1, 10, 30 lx Continuous illumination
The lower the intensity the higher the number of primordia Namba 2002
Pleurotus ostreatus Fruiting Body Blue (440), Red (660 or 720), or Blue + Red Highest yield Blue + Red Jo 2011
Pleurotus ostreatus Fruiting body Blue
Green
Red
Yellow
Blue light increases the length of the stipe and the diameter of the pileus Red light suppresses PSlusarczyk 2015
Pleurotus ostreatus (PX, K22, B80) Fruiting body 6, 10, 14 hours;
100, 300, 500, 700 lx
The longer, the higher the yield
The higher the intensity, the higher the yield
Siwulski 2012
Pleurotus pulmonarius (P20) Fruiting body 6, 10, 14 hours;
100, 300, 500, 700 lx
The longer, the higher the yield
The higher the intensity, the higher the yield
Siwulski 2012
Pleurotus eryngii Fruiting Body Blue (440), Red (660 or 720), or Blue + Red, or Green (525) Highest yield Red Jo 2011
Pleurotus eryngii Fruiting Body Blue (450), Red (650), Green (525), UV (365) with 64.9 to 108 μmol/m²s Red:
Highest yield
Highest L*value
High overall value  
Kim 2012b
Hypsizyjus Marmoreus Fruiting Body Blue (450), 3.47 μmol/m²s (30 lx)
30, 60, 120 lx Continuous illumination for 12 days
The higher the intensity the higher the yield Namba 2002
Hypsizygus Marmoreus Fruiting body Red, Green, Blue
< 150 lx
Green light: rapid formation of the pileus Dark or Red: slow formation Blue: no formation Blue light increases the ergosterol level by 100 % Jang 2013
Lentinula edodes ATCC48085 Fruiting Body 9/15 (on/off) Different light sources Low Ca-medium Red light: Highest #of primordia Highest #of fruiting bodies
High Ca-medium Red: not sufficient Blue: required
Leatham 1987
Lentinus sajor-caju Fruiting Body 8/16 (on/off) Blue, Green, Red, White (RGB) Highest yield: Blue light Huang 2017

Now I want to hear from you:

What fact presented in this article surprised you the most?
Are you excited to experiment with light in the future?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment.

Literature

Glukhova 2011

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264126675_Increased_mycelial_biomass_production_by_Lentinula_edodes_intermittently_illuminated_by_green_light_emitting_diodes

Damaso 2018

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330732981_Effects_of_Color_Light_Emitting_Diode_LED_on_the_Mycelial_Growth_Fruiting_Body_Production_and_Antioxidant_Activity_of_Lentinus_tigrinus

Reshetnyk 2019

https://www.lmaleidykla.lt/ojs/index.php/biologija/article/view/4118

Nakano 2010

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/cab3/82f48bd1beecf343c05dc3373dde480e83e8.pdf

Poyedinok 2015

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273508426_Effects_of_light_wavelengths_and_coherence_on_basidiospores_germination

Namba 2002

https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/apmsb/10/3/10_KJ00007318152/_article

Jo 2011

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275025051_Effect_of_LED_Lights_on_Pleurotus_ostreatus_and_Pleurotus_eryngii

PSlusarczyk 2015

http://slowacki.kielce.eu/IB/PSlusarczyk.pdf

Siwulski 2012

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/196d/c596c1e4e7d2123daeae1307d5f1fb5599a2.pdf

Kim 2012b

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270791803_Quality_Characteristics_of_Pleurotus_eryngii_Cultivated_with_Different_Wavelength_of_LED_Lights

Jang 2013

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3627973/

Leatham 1987

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0007153687801808

Huang 2017

Wetzel 2000

https://books.google.de/books?id=XzjC8nNoSmQC&printsec=frontcover&hl=de#v=onepage&q&f=false


[1] If data are available

[2] Poyedinok 2015

[3] Own figure based on Poyedinok 2005

[4] Nakano 2010

[5] Reshetnyk 2019

[6] Wetzel 2000

[7] Siwulski 2012

[8] Own figure based on Siwulski 2012

[9] Own figure based on Siwulski 2012

[10] Jo 2011

[11] Own figure based on Jo 2011

[12] Own figure based on Jo 2011

[13] Own figure based on Kim 2012b

[14] Own figure based on Poyedinok 2005

[15] Glukhova 2014

[16] Own figure based on Leatham 1987

[17] Own figure based on Leatham 1987

[18] Own figure based on Jang 2013

[19] Own figure based on Namba 2002

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