How important is measuring carbon dioxide in mushroom farming?
Just ask Diego Molina at Team AGROLAB in Guatemala. AGROLAB is a mushroom production farm specializing in white caps, Portobello, Crimini and Oyster mushrooms.
“We use portable CO2 meters every day at least 10 to 12 times a day. There wonderful because you can move them from grow room to grow room and carry them with no problems at all,” Diego said.
Monitoring Carbon dioxide levels is especially important during pinning, the most elusive part of the mushroom’s growth cycle. Changes in bedding, diseases, pests, temperature, light, humidity and CO2 levels can all impact the success or failure of the pinning process.
Mushrooms start out as mycelium, a branching, thread-like colony of fungus. The mycelium is grown in compost, which is why you often see mushrooms growing out of dead tree branches or logs on a forest floor. In order to propagate, the mycelium sense the right combination of temperature and moisture in the air to flower. The result is a mushroom.
Mushroom farming is the attempt to recreate the natural process of mycelium flowering on a commercial scale. When the mycelium is ready, the grower “shocks” the fungus by lowering the temperature of the air and compost, reducing the CO2 level, and increasing evaporation to encourage the growth of pins, some of which transform into fully-formed mushrooms.
After looking at several options for portable CO2 meters, Team AGROLAB chose the pSense from CO2Meter.com.
“We have been using the pSense Co2 meters for almost 2 years,” Diego said. “We could not be as efficient as we have been without these meters. They are easy to manage, they are strong, and the CO2, humidity and temperature readings are perfect.”
According to Molina, the workers in the farm walk through the grow rooms with the pSense to see if any parts of the room have higher or lower CO2, humidity or temperature readings. If they find a trouble spot, they can instantly correct any balance needed during the critical pinning phase.
“We could not manage our growing rooms without this tool,” Molina added.