The edible mushroom Volvariella volvacea or straw mushroom is extensively cultivated throughout the year in countries with warm and humid climates. It has the potential for integration into agroforestry food production systems and support food security strategies via climate- and environmental-friendly agriculture, without adversely affecting forest ecosystems. This study aims to ascertain the effect of microclimate on the production of V. volvacea by adapting outdoor cultivation methods to logged lowland dipterocarp forests, along with the application of oil palm wastes as a growing substrate. The study measured a range of microclimatic variables including bed temperature and humidity, as well as bed orientation. Freshly processed planting material from oil palm empty fruit bunches (EFB) was partially composted using conventional open-air composting method and then used as a growing substrate. V. volvacea was cultivated on twenty planting beds composed of EFB, with north–south and east–west orientations, over 4 replication periods, between November 2017 and May 2019, and mushroom production was measured. The analysis found that bed humidity, bed temperature, harvesting week, harvesting month, and replication significantly affected V. volvacea production, while bed pH and orientation did not affect production. Varying temperature and humidity particularly during incubation, for mycelial growth and fruiting body development, as well as harvesting period, are important factors affecting mushroom production. Our study showed that lowland dipterocarp forest provide an ideal setting for cultivating edible mushrooms. Further investigation should be conducted to ascertain the potential for cultivating V. volvacea in other tropical agroforestry contexts, and to assess its potential to mitigate climate change and contribute to a circular economy through recycling oil palm wastes.
Agroforestry Systems – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 15, 2021
Keywords: Oil palm empty fruit bunch; Food security; Lowland dipterocarp forest; Microclimate; Outdoor cultivation