White milky mushroom (Calocybe indica)
Milky mushroom (Calocybe indica) can be grown on wide range of substrates as in case of oyster mushroom. It can be
grown on substrates containing lignin, cellulose and hemicelluloses. Substrate should be fresh and dry. Substrates exposed to rain or harvested premature (green color) are prone to various weed
moulds which may result in failure of the crop. It can be grown on straw of paddy, wheat, ragi, maize/bajra/cotton stalks and leaves, sugarcane bagasse, cotton and jute wastes, dehulled maize cobs,
tea/coffee waste etc., However cereal straw (paddy/wheat) easily available in abundance, is being widely used.
Straw is chopped in small pieces (2-4cm size) and soaked in fresh water for 8-16 hours. This period can be reduced when
pasteurization is to be done by steam. Main purpose of soaking is to saturate the substrate with water. It is easier to soak if straw is filled in gunny bag and dipped in water.
The purpose of pasteurization is to kill harmful microbes. This can be achieved in two ways.
Hot water treatment
Water is boiled in wide mouth container and chopped wet straw filled in gunny bag is submersed in hot water for 40
minutes at 80-90C to achieve pasteurization. This is very popular method particularly with small growers.
Wet straw is filled inside insulated room either in perforated shelves or in wooden trays. Steam is released under
pressure from a boiler and temperature in side substrate is raised to 65C and maintained for 5-6 hours. Air inside the room should be circulated to have uniform temperature in the substrate.
Substrate is filled in polypropylene bags (x45cm, holding 2-3 kg wet substrate) and sterilized at 15 lb psi for 1 hour.
Once pasteurization/sterilization is over straw is shifted to spawning room for cooling, bag filling and spawning.
Casing means covering the top surface of bags after spawn run is over, with pasteurized casing material in thickness of
about 2-3cm. Casing provides physical support, moisture and allows gases to escape from the substrate. Casing material (soil 75% + sand 25%) with pH adjusted to 7.8-7.9 with chalk powder is
pasteurized in autoclave at 151b psi for one our or chemically treated with formaldehyde soln (4%) about a week in advance of casing. Solution should be enough to saturate the soil. It is covered
with polythene sheet to avoid escape of chemical and at a interval of 2 days soil is turned so that at the time of casing soil is free from formalin fumes. Bag’s top is made uniform by ruffling
top surface of the substrate and sprayed with solution of carbendazim (0.1%) + formaldehyde (0.5%). Casing material is spread in uniform layer of 2-3 cm thickness and sprayed with solution of
carbendazim and formaldehyde to saturation level. Temperature 30-35C and R.H. 80-90% are maintained.
It takes about 10 days for mycelium to reach on top of casing layer when fresh air is introduced while
maintaining temperature and R.H. as above. Light should be provided in long time. The changes thus made in environment, result in the initiation of fruiting bodies with in 3-5 days in the form of
needle shape which mature in about a week. Mushrooms 7-8cm diam. are harvested by twisting, cleaned and packed in perforated polythene / polypropylene bags for marketing. Mushrooms can also be
wrapped in kiln film for longer storage.