Monitoring CO2 Levels Critical for Mushroom Farm Success

Carbon Dioxide Monitoring in Mushroom Farms

How important is measuring Carbon Dioxide (CO2) 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.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) monitoring is critical

One of the most important aspects in mushroom farming, is carbon dioxide monitoring. There are several parameters which influence the mushrooms including carbon dioxide and humidity.  Both are key to keeping very specific ranges during the states of the mushroom production process. The need to monitor these vital concentrations in indoor mushroom environments is important additionally in order to obtain high-quality, generous size, and productivity of the mushroom crop.

For example, normal levels of CO2 concentrations may reach peak heights and if the concentration surpasses10,000ppm, the levels must be decreased during the next final stages of growing to ensure proper development.

In addition, Carbon Dioxide monitoring is especially important during pinning, which many individuals do not realize, as this is the most elusive part of the mushroom’s growth cycle. Changes in bedding, diseases, pests, temperature, light, humidity and CO2 can all impact the success or failure of the pinning process.

For example, some mushrooms during pin heading and fruit body development, require the CO2 concentrations to range anywhere from 1200-1500ppm. If the pin reaches 1cm in height, its full body must be equal in diameter. And if the cap is smaller than the body, this directly indicates that the CO2 concentrations are above the normal levels. Alternatively, if the cap is bigger than the mushroom body, this concludes that the quantity of air in the indoor farm is more than the necessary volume.

Understanding Mushroom Production 

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, you guessed it, 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.

CO2Meter CM-501 Carbon Dioxide Handheld MonitorAfter looking at several options for a portable CO2 meter, the team at AGROLAB chose a portable CO2 monitor, the CM-501 - Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Handheld Gas Detector.

“We have been using the 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 CO2 meters to see if any parts of the room have higher or lower CO2, humidity or temperature readings than desired. 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.

Who would have guessed that an ingredient that so many of us enjoy on our meals, could have such a strenuous production cycle (over 13 weeks to be exact!) and all with the assistance of our favorite inert gas, Carbon Dioxide (CO2).

For those that are looking for further information on carbon dioxide solutions and implementing devices into your indoor grow environment, speak to an expert today. Call us directly at 877-678-4259 or 

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