Oyster Mushroom Cultivation

Dr. Rajesha, Bendangsenla and Lireni Kikon

ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Nagaland Centre, Medziphema and KVK, Dimapur


Mushrooms have been identified as priority item in government’s recent programme along with the promoting production of vegetables and fruits. Mushrooms, also called ‘white vegetables’ or ‘boneless vegetarian meat’ contains ample amount of proteins, vitamins and fibre apart from having certain medicinal properties. Mushroom contains 20-35% protein (dry weight) which is higher than those of vegetables and fruits and is of superior quality. Mushrooms are now getting significant importance due to their nutritional and medicinal value. There are many types of mushrooms produced and marketed worldwide but the oyster mushroom has the maximum share in north east including Nagaland. Hence, North-East region has very good prospects of cultivation because of prevailing favourable weather condition for the production, availability of raw materials and lack of supply of mushroom from other parts of India. Among all the cultivated mushrooms Oyster (Pleurotus sp.) mushroom has maximum number of commercially cultivated species suitable for round the year cultivation. Therefore, oyster mushroom cultivation has an economic opportunity in northeast India.



Production Technology of Oyster Mushroom

Oyster mushroom can grow at moderate temperature ranging from 20 to 300 C and relative humidity of 70-90% and enough ventilation during cropping season. It is possible to cultivate this mushroom throughout the year with the advent of modern cultivation technology. Various levels of technologies are available for production of oyster mushrooms under controlled growing rooms but without unnecessary mechanization and automation owing mainly due to low cost of labours.



Cultivation Practices of Oyster Mushroom



• Paddy straw
• Chaff cutter/Dao
• Spawn
• Transparent polythene bag (60x45cm/50x35cm)
• Water boiling drum
• Bamboo/cane basket/wire mesh
• Disinfectant (Dettol)
• Sprayer
• Firewood


• Cut the straw into 3-5cms long and soak the cut straws in cold water for 8-12hours.
• Drain off the water and boil the straws in hot water for 15-20 minutes.
• Drain off the excess water and allow it to cool in shade.
• Make holes on the poly bags at a distance of 10 cm and disinfect with dettol solution (2 tablespoon in 1 litre of water) and tie the bags at the bottom.
• Remove the spawn from the bag in a clean tray.
• Fill 5cm of a perforated poly bag with the straws and press slightly and sprinkle the spawn uniformly over the straw and cover again with straws to another 5cm.
• Repeat the process 4-5 times and then, tie the mouth of the poly bag.
• Place the filled poly bags on the shelves in a dark for 12-20 days
• White thread like growth covers the straw fully within 20-25 days
• Remove the polythene cover carefully when the pinheads start emerging
• Start watering 2 days after the removal of polythene cover.
• In about 5-7 days the first flush of fruiting bodies appears which can be harvested. Subsequent flushes appear about 10 days apart. Altogether 3-4 flushes appear in a single life cycle.


Points to be remembered:

• Oyster can be grown within a temperature range of 20-30°C.
• Growing season (Hills) – March to Oct. (Plains)- Oct to March
• Hang the poly bags in well aerated dark room.
• Watering is not required until the pinhead formation. Once the pinhead emerges, watering should be done at least twice a day (morning and evening).
• During spawn run, ventilation is not important. However, during cropping, fresh air is required. Hence rooms should be provided with proper ventilation.
• Keep the surrounding areas neat and clean. Put fine wire on the ventilation to check flies.

Pest and disease management

• Clean water
– A mist sprayer will not splash, so it is better.
• Filtered air
– “Air-lock” entrance room
• Careful pasteurization
– 55-60°C (131-140°F) for 30 to 60 minutes.
• Clean workers
– Hands should be thoroughly wash after working with substrate
• Clean surroundings
– Brush, weeds, stumps and old logs should be cleaned

1. Sanitation and hygiene are the most important measures to control pest and diseases
2. Avoid using damaged and old straw for bed preparation to avoid pest and diseases
3. Remove and destroy the infected beds immediately
4. Proper sterilization of straw and bed preparation should be done
5. Avoid preparing beds with more than 70 per cent moisture
6. Take measures to avoid the accumulation of dust in the vicinity of mushroom houses
7. Stagnation of water on the floor of the mushroom house should be avoided to prevent insects/flies and also to prevent the growth of unwanted moulds.
8. As diseased mushrooms appear they should be removed from the beds using a cloth
9. Clean the mushroom houses thoroughly before a new crop
10. Clean and disinfect equipment frequently
11. Avoid pouring excess water to the beds
12. Spray water mixed with bleaching powder @ 2 g / 10 litres of water.


Utilization of waste material:

Spent Mushroom Substrate (SMS) contains 1.9 – 0.4 – 2.4 (N-P-K) before weathering and 1.9 – 0.6 – 1.0 (N-P-K) after weathering for 8-16 months. The material has been found to be good nutrient sources for agriculture because of its nutrient-status. It has a high cation exchange capacity, a measure of the amount of nutrients a medium can hold and a slow mineralization rate retains its quality as an organic matter. The addition of spent mushroom substrate in the nutrient poor soil leads to an improvement in soil texture, water holding capacity and nutrient status. Spent mushroom substrate incorporation in soil does not have any adverse effect on its alkalinity while, its amendment in soil leads to an increase in both pH as well as the organic carbon content. The spent mushroom substrate being rich in N, P and K acts as a good growing medium for vegetables like cucumber, tomato, broccoli, tulip, cauliflower, peppers, spinach etc. but the response of the plants varies at different levels of SMS incorporation.



Processing of oyster mushroom:

Oyster mushroom can be used for the preparation of value additional products such as Oyster mushroom pickle, nuggets, cookies, soup powder, mushroom ketchup, candy, chips, chutney powder, jam, papad, dried oyster mushroom pickle etc.


Source of spawn availability in Nagaland
1. ICAR Research Complex for NEH Region, Nagaland Centre, Medziphema, Dimapur, Nagaland
2. Dept of Horticulture, Green Park, 4th Mile, Dimapur, Nagaland.