SCENE CITY|Mushroom may revolutionize the food industry

GROWING mushrooms has caught the interest of some people who have seen and tried the various dishes this crop brings to our dining table.

Our brief visit to the Davao Organic Center along Tionko Avenue here in Davao City was really a surprise. There we met a young man, Denmark M. Noyna, who was conducting training for growing oyster mushroom (Pluerotus ostreatus) right in the Davao Organic Center managed by Jose “Joe” Nobleza.

Denmark or Epoy studied at the Mindanao State University main campus, which is two kilometers away from Marawi City. He comes from Lanao del Norte.

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ELIZABETH Atillo and Andrew Atillo undergo training for mushroom culture and production at the Davao Organic Center

Because Epoy was not able to pass the entrance examinations for a course in agriculture and major in crop production, he shifted his interest to the research in mushroom production at MSU where he stayed five years where he was a working student studying agronomy.

He chose mushroom culture because he says it was “unique, as no other producer engaged in its culture and the demand was great, especially for the Maranaos who consumed the commodity in big quantities during the season of Ramadan. Mushrooms contain rich nutrients such as protein, phosphorous, iron, calcium and crude fiber.

According to Joe Nobleza, the success of mushroom production is seen in the communities around the depressed areas of Toril where he used to reside. The mushroom is cooked as substitute for meat in serving “lugaw” or congee or porridge and is highly accepted by children and adults. But it does not stop there. This variety has a long shelf life if kept in the refrigerator after “fruiting”, the term used for harvesting, as long as seven days and does not spoi easily.

Denmark Moyna moved to Davao City on Jan. 14, 2017, recommended by his professor in Soil Laboratory Tissue Culture at MSU, Dr. Bing Estoista, who in turn got in touch with Joyce Nobleza-Bunotan, a UP graduate whose thesis was on mushroom culture.

Denmark “Epoy” was conducting training for retirees/investors Andrew Atillo and Elizabeth Atillo, who saw how the potentials of mushroom growing could revolutionize the demand for organic food which boosts the immune system and contains the nutrients needed by everyone, children and adults.

We were shown the stages of mushroom production which started with packing black polyethelene bags with rice straw, sterilizing 54 bags into a drum, and after four days, planting 5mgs of spawn into each bag. It took 62 days for the spawns to start bearing fruits which could provide four months of continues and steady supply of mushrooms. The mushroom house which is a four by four square meters was formerly used as an orchid growing shed, now turned into a shed with controlled temperature of 28 degrees celsius to keep the bags producing the desired mushroom fruits.

Alice Nobleza, Joe’s wife tells us that the members of their family and the neighbors alone keep buying the produce which they are not able to sell because they are sold immediately after gathering right in the organic garden.

Training for the mushroom production takes four days which include mother spawn making, sub-strip, sterilization, inoculation, incubation and marketing.

Joe Nobleza also says this type of mushroom can be grown in evacuation centers and disaster areas, relating that the soldiers of the German army grew this variety in their bunkers for their food supply where they had to stay for several days.

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