On the outside, these might look like just your ordinary shipping containers, but take a look on the inside and you might get a sneak peek into the future of mushroom production, as this prototype from MycoLogic implements controlled environment technology designed to maximize harvests.
“It’s about providing the optimized conditions to reduce the time for cropping as wells as to increase the yields of the mushrooms that were produced,” says Chris Cornelison. “So, the old adage time is money, right? So, the faster you can grow more mushrooms, the more profitable your operation is.”
The biggest obstacle to making a profit is the ever-rising cost of production. However, growing mushrooms in this kind of controlled environment keeps those expenses to a minimum.
“The biggest difference between plants and mushrooms is that mushrooms can grow in the complete absence of light. So, you save a lot of energy or save a lot of money on not having to um, use energy to produce light. In this container, we operate on about twenty to thirty dollars a month,” says Kyle Gabriel.
Another benefit to this type of production is farmers can make use of the byproducts their crops produce by fertilizing different types of mushrooms.
“One of our initiatives is trying to find locally sourced agricultural waste materials and then developing the correct formulation or the ideal ratio for different species of mushrooms to grow on. So, if we can find an area say in Georgia that has a large amount of cotton gin byproduct, peanut shells, corn shaft, we can sort of tailor what mushrooms will grow ideal for that particular region,” says Gabriel.
This would not only be beneficial to the farmer’s bottom line, but also the environment as a whole.
“You know, there’s a lot of byproduct in Georgia, whether it be peanut hulls or spent cotton gin byproduct that are perfectly suitable for mushroom cultivation. They’re produced in thousands of tons, right? And so, if we can recapture some of those residues to create a value-added product; not only is that good for sustainability, but that’s also good for the state’s economy,” says Cornelison.
“It will add to the circular economy where we’re recycling, we’re taking these byproducts that would be a burden to the farmer and they would sit in the field or they would be burned which is bad for the environment and then we can turn those into products that can grow mushrooms,” says Gabriel.
This idea already has a number of believers, as MycoLogic has partnered with multiple farmers across the state, which is the first step in their five-year journey finally coming to fruition.
“We are both applied scientists. So, we’re always looking move discoveries out of the academic laboratory and into the market to realize the full potential. So, the overall goal for the project is to continue to refine the technology based off of customer feedback and partnerships with existing growers and come up with a minimal viable product that we hope to launch in 2023,” says Cornelison.
By: Damon Jones