Mushroom-based processes for increased local production of non-meat protein and enhanced agriculture sustainability

MUSA intends to contribute to enhancing agriculture sustainability by (i) using crop residues for producing edible mushrooms, and (ii)upgrading mushroom spent substrate (SMS) for uses supporting food production, substitution of mineral fertilizers and providing wastewater bioremediation solutions.

The project will focus on shiitake (L. edodes) and oyster (Pleurotus spp.) mushrooms, which areclimate-smart protein-rich food sources beneficial for human nutrition and wellbeing. Mushroom cultivation will be performed onsubstrates based on residues of local agriculture, food industry and thinning of Nordic forestry.SMS is the main by-product of mushroom farming, and its disposal poses major economic and environmental concerns. Thus, effectiveutilization of SMS is crucial for a sustainable mushroom industry.

MUSA sees SMS as a source of bioactive compounds, such asmycelium components, substrate phytochemicals, and fungal metabolites. The project will develop methods for extracting bioactivecompounds, such as polyphenolics and proteins. Extraction methods will be tuned for preserving the properties of targeted compoundsand for minimizing degradation of non-targeted molecules. The extracted compounds will be evaluated as food additives, and theextraction residue will be subjected to saccharification for producing hydrolysates that will serve as substrates for cultivating oleaginousyeasts. The produced yeast will be directed to extraction of lipids that can substitute imported plant oil, and thus contribute to decreasethe environmental impact of production of palm-, soybean- and rapeseed oil. The lipid-free yeast biomass will then be subjected toextraction of carotenoids and β-glucans, bioactive compounds with antioxidant and immunostimulant activity.

SMS feasibility as fertilizer or soil amendment will be investigated. The agronomic benefits of using SMS as peat substitute in horticultureor as a soil amendment in agriculture will be quantified. Microbial communities in SMS, their dynamics after introduction into farmlands,and correlations between specific microbes and SMS effectivity as biofertilizer and soil amendment will be assessed.Research backing development of a bioremediation approach using SMS for removal micropollutants from wastewater to be used forirrigation will be performed. The SMS effects on water quality indicators and on a selected ecological process will be addressed, and itsimpact on water ecosystems will be elucidated.


Kyösti Lempa

Kyösti Lempa

Special Adviser