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Hawai'i Forestry Extension

Growing tropical, edible mushrooms on waste wood products

S. C. Miyasaka, Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Science, UH-CTAHR
D. E. Hemmes, Department of Biology, UH Hilo

Contact Dr. Susan Miyasaka (miyasaka@hawaii.edu)
Phone: 808-974-4105
Fax: 808-974-4110

There is a need to develop diversified agriculture in Hawaii. Commercial forests are a promising alternative land use; however, there is a long lag period before income is generated. This project seeks to improve the profitability and sustainability of tree farms by providing a supplemental source of income through the growing of mushrooms on wood chips, sawdust, or other waste wood products.


The overall objectives of this project are to utilize wood and other forest products, and to obtain the fullest and most effective use of forest resources. Specific objectives are as follows:

  1. to evaluate various waste wood products as fruiting substrates for growing oyster mushrooms;
  2. to determine the economic feasibility of growing oyster mushrooms;
  3. to conduct preliminary studies on nutritional composition and possible toxicity problems of oyster mushrooms grown on various wood species; and
  4. to isolate other tropical strains of edible mushrooms and conduct preliminary studies on their suitability for commercial production. .


1) Fruiting substrates for oyster mushrooms. We will isolate, culture and multiply local strains of the oyster mushroom, Pleurotus cystidiosus. Existing commercial procedures will be used to grow these mushrooms. We will test fruiting substrates composed of wood chips and sawdust from the following fast-growing hardwood species: a) guava (Psidium guajava); b) ironwood (Casuarina equisetifolia); c) albizia (Falcataria moluccana); and d) eucalyptus (Eucalyptus grandis). An existing walk-in chamber with temperature controls will be used as a growing room for the mushrooms. A humidifier will maintain humidity at greater than 95%. Clean, insect-free conditions will be maintained in this chamber using a HEPA filter unit and insect traps. Spawn of the oyster mushroom will be inoculated into sterilized media containing wood chips and sawdust. Each fruiting substrate will be replicated four times and placed into the chamber maintained at the optimum temperature. Duration to harvest, number of harvests, and fresh weights of mushrooms will be measured in the various woody substrates. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Multiple comparisons with the Best will be used to statistically analyze the data to determine the optimum fruiting substrate.

2) Economic feasibility of growing oyster mushrooms. The most efficient and relevant production system will be researched with the cost of each input recorded on a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will then be modified to estimate revenues and costs based on a number of marketable production scenarios and time frames, and on prevailing and historical prices for similar mushrooms in the Honolulu market. For the entire length of the project all costs will be monitored, including the labor time projected to be used in a commercial operation. Once the mushrooms are harvested all costs and revenues will then be used to update and finalize a budget spreadsheet for a mushroom farm in Hawaii.

3) Determine nutritional composition and possible toxicity of oyster mushrooms. Proximate composition (dry matter, moisture, nitrogen, lipid and ash) and mineral analysis (including heavy metals) of oyster mushrooms will be determined by the University of Hawaii's Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center.

4) Commercial suitability of other mushroom species. Tropical strains of morels and chicken of the woods will be isolated and various agar media will be evaluated (potato dextrose agar or malt extract agar) as a culture media. Preliminary trials will be conducted on optimum media for production of spawn and fruiting bodies. If a particular species of mushroom appears promising for commercial production, then another grant proposal will be submitted for further study.

Updated 26 October 2002

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