Amending traditional substrate rice straw with agroforestry tree foliage increases production cycle and nutritional value of Pleurotus floridanus
Keywords:Food security, Gliricidia sepium, Income, Mushrooms, Smallholder farmers
The recent heightened attention on mushrooms has not considered shortening the production time and increasing nutritional value using substrates from agroforestry trees in addition to traditionally used agro-industrial residues. This study therefore, examined harvesting time, protein and essential minerals of Pleurotus floridanus grown on rice straw amended with Gliricidia sepium foliage in Morogoro, Tanzania. Mushrooms were cultivated in 30 x 40 cm 4 kg dry weight polythene bags in randomized complete block design (RCBD) experiment. Results showed that the addition of 5% G. sepium into rice straw reduced total time between spawning and first harvest of P. floridanus. Gliricidia sepium increased significantly (P < 0.05) protein contents of the mushrooms by up to 40%. The addition of 5–10% G. sepium into rice straw increased significantly (P < 0.05) manganese, copper and zinc in the mushrooms. The decrease in production time and high increase in protein and mineral contents indicate that agroforestry trees have the potential to increase production cycles and nutritional value of P. floridanus. Therefore, use of foliage from agroforestry trees in combination with traditional substrates for mushroom production could help fight malnutrition, improve food security and enhance income.
Keywords: Food security; Gliricidia sepium; Income; Mushrooms; Smallholder farmers