How to cultivate Straw Mushroom on Palm Empty Fruit Bunches


Indonesia’s oil palm plantation increased from 11.3 million ha in 2015 to 14.6 million ha in 2019, or by 6.6% YoY. In 2015 over 30 million tons of empty fruit bunches were produced, which are the first waste product (Fig. 1) of the process of fresh fruit bunches into crude palm oil and palm kernel oil.

The purpose of this research is, therefore, to explore the effects of size reduction and composting duration of empty fruit bunches as a growth medium for mushroom production. In a second experiment, the authors investigated the dose of inorganic and organic fertilizer supplements commonly used among farmers.

For both experiments, the fruiting room was maintained at 28 to 33°C (84 to 92°F) and relative humidity of 80 to 95%. First harvest was taken place after 8 to 10 days after spawning.

For the first experiment, the authors used 100 kg EFB in different sizes and soaked it overnight. After the water drainage, the EFB was supplemented with 80 kg chicken manure, 70 kg rice bran, and 60 kg lime per 1000 kg EFB (*each). The substrate was then composted either for 2, 5, or 8 days.

The first plot shows that reducing the substrate’s size negatively impacted the number of fruiting bodies per square meter went down from 219 for the whole stalk to 153 for the hump and to 88 for using only the stem. This then translates into a total weight of 2.458g for the whole stalk, 1.567g for the hump, and 854g for the stem. This then leads to a biological efficiency of 5.5 for the whole stalk, 3.5 for the hump, and only 1.9 for the stem.

Let’s take a look at the influence of the composting duration. We see that with increasing time, the number of fruitbodies per square meter drops from 176 after composting for 2 days, down to 155 after composting for 5 days, to 128 after composting for 8 days. These values then translate into the following weights 1.976g for the 2-day compost, 1.563g for the 5-day compost, and 1.341g for the 8-day compost. Which can convert to a biological conversion efficiency of 4.4 for the 2-day compost, 1.3.5 for the 5-day compost, and 3.0 for the 8-day compost.

For the second experiment, the authors used the best results from the first experiment as the foundation. Again, they used 100kg EFB, soaked it overnight, and supplemented it with the same percentage of chicken manure, rice bran, and lime. The author then added either 25g, 50g, or 75g of inorganic fertilizer to the substrate or 5cc, 10cc, or 15cc of organic fertilizer.

The second experiment results showed that the number of fruitbodies per square meter is 25g and 50g, with 304 and 297 similar. But we see an increase by 6.1% if 75g inorganic fertilizer was used. Interestingly the total weight dropped with increasing fertilizer from 3.178g to 2.932g, and finally to 2.728g for 25g, 50g, and 75g, respectively. Which gets translated into a biological conversion efficiency of 7.1, 6.5, and 6.1.

When it comes to the influence of organic fertilizer, the number of fruiting bodies per square meter first drops from 341 to 278 and increases slightly to 302. A similar pattern can be seen if we look at the total weight. Here, 5cc lead to 3.174g, while 10cc to 2.698g, and 15cc to 2.993g. Resulting in biological conversion efficiency of 7.1, 6,0, and 6.7.

Based on these experiments, the authors stated that empty fruit bunches can be used as a mushroom substrate.

Still, the biological conversion efficiency in their experiments was lower than compared to other researchers.

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📝Triyono, S., Haryanto, A., Telaumbanua, M. et al. Cultivation of straw mushroom (Volvariella volvacea) on oil palm empty fruit bunch growth medium. Int J Recycl Org Waste Agricult 8, 381–392 (2019).,