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21st Century Mushroom Cultivation Methods

Written by Dr. John Holliday on Oct. 17th 2015

Looking back on mushroom cultivation reminds me of early medicine: We had formulas like Wing of a Bat, Urine of a Virgin and a Loaf of Moldy Green Bread. The funny thing is, this formula worked! The reason why is because the green mold that grows on Bread is the source of Penicillin. In fact, while penicillin was discovered in 1928, throughout the 1930, this is how penicillin was produced! But to produce penicillin this way cost nearly $400,000 a gram! This meant that only hospitalized patients where the penicillin could be recovered were eligible for the treatment. But once the modern liquid fermentation method was invented for Penicillin production in the early 1940’s, the cost of production dropped to less than ONE CENT per gram.


Mushroom farming is much like this. By following the methods laid out in the books written 20 or more years ago, you are spending far too much to grow your mushrooms. Mushroom farming started out as a strictly agricultural practice, and has remained virtually unchanged since at least the 1930’s. What has changed today is that the modern, most profitable farms are incorporating many aspects of modern biotechnology into the traditional agricultural practices, resulting in efficiencies never heard of before. In the last 10 years or so, huge leaps have been made in biotechnology. I’m not talking about genetic engineering, but in the processes for sterilization and sterile tissue culture. All the farms we have built are all Certified Organic, never any GMO, but utilizing techniques developed by the big biotech companies. Mainly Sterile tissue culture techniques applied on a large scale.


There are many good books written on mushroom cultivation, but none of them address the issue from a 2018 perspective. Some of the classics like Paul Stamets “The Mushroom Cultivator” were written as much as 30 years ago. This is an excellent book and should be the starting point for anyone who is interested in growing mushrooms. But to follow only those guidelines ensures you cannot be successful. Or at the very least it means you will never reach the full potential of your farm. The costs are simply too high and the yields too low when those earlier methods are followed. 
If you are not getting at least 100% Biological Efficiency on a consistent basis, then you need to look into upgrading to a more modern system of cultivation. Maybe it is only a few small issues that you can change for only a little investment. Or maybe your entire approach is wrong. But one thing I know for sure from more than 40 years of doing this, any species of mushroom that can be grown commercially can consistently achieve yields above 100% BE. That’s right, for each 1000 lbs of dry substrate you start with, it is possible to harvest more than 1000 pounds of fresh mushrooms! And we can help you start doing this today.

If your farm is in this 100% BE yield range, then congratulations, you are doing it right. But if not, you should really click on the Case Study button if you would like to see how we can help you implement these modern techniques into your mushroom farm.



Dr. John Holliday

Dr. John helps people start and grow successful mushroom cultivation businesses.  He is an expert at growing all species of exotic mushrooms by integrating modern biotech methods and making things super simple to understand.

If you’re interested in starting your own mushroom business or scaling up and increasing your profits then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.