Press release CBS-KNAW

New enzymes improve efficiency of mushroom production

16 September 2015

The mushroom cultivation industry is important to the Dutch. In fact, the Netherlands is one of the top five mushroom-producing countries in the world. Competition is fierce, especially from China, Poland and the USA.

The Netherlands must continually optimise its production process in order to maintain its leading position. Aleksandrina Patyshakuliyeva at the Fungal Biodiversity Centre has discovered enzymes that can boost the efficiency of mushroom production when added to compost. She was awarded a PhD for her research on 16 September.

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Mushrooms on compost. (Click on the photograph for a high-resolution version.)

From compost to mushroom

In ‘traditional’ mushroom cultivation, some of the compost is left unused. Until recently, scientists did not how mushrooms degrade and convert compost, making it difficult to improve the production process. Aleksandrina Patyshakuliyeva analysed the compost conversion process and traced which enzymes mushrooms use. She discovered that the mushrooms were lacking two key enzymes involved in compost degradation. Her discovery has given the mushroom sector a strategy for improving cultivation, so that more of the compost is actually being used in production.

PhD ceremony

Aleksandrina Patyshakuliyeva defended her PhD at Utrecht University on 16 September. Her PhD supervisor was Ronald de Vries, who also works at the Fungal Biodiversity Centre. The title of Patyshakuliyeva’s thesis is Unraveling the mystery of commercial cultivation of Agaricus bisporus: plant biomass utilization and its effect on mushroom production.

About the CBS

The Fungal Biodiversity Centre (CBS) is one of the Academy’s research institutes and manages a world-famous collection of living fungi, yeasts and bacteria. The Centre’s research programme focuses mainly on the taxonomy, evolution, biology and ecology of fungi. The Institute, which is located in Utrecht, has a staff of seventy.