Button mushroom casing soil
Pith mushroom casing, as an effective and sustainable alternative to peat soil, has been developed and patented after extensive research at the University of Pretoria. Pith is a waste product in the Triple GreenTM paper-making process at SAPPI’s Kwadukuza facility. The exceptional water-holding capacity of pith cells in sugarcane bagasse makes it ineffectual for the paper process and therefore is removed in a wet de-pithing step. Ironically that is also the reason why pith holds so much potential as mushroom casing soil and plant growing substrates.
Research on alternative mushroom casing substrates was conducted at the University of Pretoria with funds from SAMFA and THRIP, from 2002-2008. Developed IP is protected by SA patent 2010/08305 and PCT/IB2011/055183 filed by the University of Pretoria. Patents were subsequently filed in Brazil, India, Australia, New Zealand, China and the EU, middle 2013. MABU Substrates (Pty) Ltd has an exclusive license to commercialise the product with the opportunity to sub-license.
TIA and the IDC supported MABU with technology development funds for optimising the production process and validating the product on SA mushroom farms. The project broadened into seedling- and plant growth medium research to eventually add to our product range.