Adding Value to Hydroponic Production with Oyster Mushrooms
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Specialty mushrooms, such as shiitakes and oysters, are a high value crop which totaled $96 million in sales in 2017. Oyster mushrooms are sold at $3.10/pound, illustrating their economic value (USDA, 2017). To produce these specialty mushrooms, specific environmental conditions are required, including high humidity and warmth. Indoor hydroponic systems are a specific type of closed operation system, which utilizes a controlled environment with moderate to high humidity and temperature to produce agricultural crops with faster turnover rates. This project explores vertically integrating a layer of high value mushroom crops into a hydroponic plant-production system to increase the economic return per area. Specifically, we will compare the viability, compatibility, and competitiveness of traditional mushroom farming to conjunctive hydroponic/mushroom production. The experimental design will have three plots, the first two of which will mimic traditional mushroom production: 1) HVAC controlled environment with no light, 2) no HVAC with no light, and 3) a Buddha Box hydroponic unit that is a controlled environment with high humidity and is lit by LEDs.