Growing mushrooms in the New Normal

Mushroom-growing and production are not new in the Philippines. It has been known since the 1990s. However, due to limited resources available, its status and production were sparse enough for people to lose interest in it.

With its immense potentials and benefits, the only thing that discourages people to venture in this field is the lack of knowledge, access to trainings, and quality planting materials.

This sparked the initiative of the Department of Agriculture- Central Luzon Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-CLIARC) to pursue a study on mushroom propagation technology that involved three components to improve income, especially of rice farmers: research and development; production and gene bank establishment; and training and extension services.

Funded by the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), these three components have respective sub-studies conducted to complete and ensure the project’s overall goal which is to generate and introduce low-cost mushroom production and postharvest technologies to farmers.

Research and Development 

Under this component, three sub-studies were successfully actualized by DA-CLIARC that aimed to generate a product line of mushroom- based products for additional income of farmers. These products have high nutritional content because mushrooms alone are already rich in vitamins and minerals. These are good alternatives especially for those who are monitoring their fat and sugar intake.

One of the studies is on “Product Development and Shelf-life Extension of Pleurotus-based Mushroom Frozen Products” which produced 10 frozen varieties of products for commercialization. This product line included ice cream, ice drop, kikiam, bola-bola, nuggets, veggie-balls, longganisa, tapa, dumpling, and lumpiang shanghai. Fresh mushroom fruits were harvested and added to these goods and then processed with the respective ingredients needed for each recipe.

 

Moreover, another study focused on producing consumable treats with oyster mushrooms as main ingredient. This study, however, centers more on sweets and pastries. The study titled “Product Development of Pleurotus Mushroom-Based Sweets and Pastries for Commercialization” generated 10 goods for this product line including waffle, cupcake, espasol, macaroons, pie tart, pandesal, brownies, sugar- coated mushroom, glazed mushroom, and maja.

Aside from these, nine mushroom-based condiments were also developed under this component. Through the study “Incorporation of Pleurotus Mushroom on The Processing and Development of Condiments, Mixes, And Sauces for Community-based Enterprises,” mushroom ketchup, pickle relish, gravy, chili paste, fish ball sauce, mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, hot sauce, and barbecue sauce were developed.

The researchers conducted a sensory evaluation for each of the products and have gained positive feedback from the public in terms of taste, color, texture, and flavor.

Meanwhile, on shelf-life testing, these projects have also successfully prolonged the shelf-life of mushroom and have lessened its perishability. With rancidity as its main determiner, the product lines can last for months when kept and stored properly..

 

Gene bank establishment and training services  

The remaining two components of the project focused on increasing the awareness of growers on mushroom varieties and production. The gene bank aimed to serve as a source of starter cultures for individuals and institutions who have expressed their interest in mushroom growing, while the provision of training services intended to expand the know-hows and skills of the growers.

With that, the extension and training component, that originally intended to cater 1,000 individuals, has expanded its training to 1,042 participants through a total of 31 training services provided.

When it comes to the gene bank establishment, researchers surpassed the target number to be produced and have reached 3,055 quality culture and 38,000 mushroom fruiting bags. Also, 18 edible mushroom varieties were cultured for continuous storage and maintenance.

At present, in response to DA’s Ahon Lahat Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19 program, mushroom fruiting bags have been distributed by DA-CLIARC Upland in Magalang, Pampanga for free. In addition, vegetable seeds and seedlings as well as grain spawns were also given to the members of Mushroom and High-Value Crops Producers Association in Tarlac. The institution is also preparing for the launching of their online seminar on mushroom production.

Following the same initiative, another mushroom project also funded by DA-BAR titled “Establishment of Mushroom Development Center at DA-RCPC, City of Ilagan, Isabela,” has also produced spawns which were recently allocated to community members who attended an on-site training on mushroom production in Cauayan City, Isabela.

As the country gears towards the New Normal post-pandemic, mushroom production and its by- products truly are seen as one of the most feasible sources of income because of its economic opportunities and advantages. ### Chantale T. Francisco

  

For more information:

Dr. Emily A. Soriano

Project Leader

DA-Central Luzon

(0906) 245 0622

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