Oyster Mushroom Production

What is it?

A model scheme for cultivation of Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus spp.) with commercial viability and bankability has been prepared keeping in view the agro-climatic conditions and other related aspects for successful cultivation of the mushroom and its subsequent marketing. Cultivation of mushroom can be taken up on a large scale by individual entrepreneurs. The agro-climatic conditions as well as local availability of raw material makes mushroom cultivation an economically viable proposition.

Mushrooms, also called ‘white vegetables’ or ‘boneless vegetarian meat’ contain ample amounts 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 and today their cultivation is being done in about 100 countries. At present world production is estimated to be around 5 million tonnes and is ever increasing. Though 20 mushroom varieties are domesticated about half a dozen varieties viz; button, shitake, oyster, wood ear and paddy straw mushrooms contribute 99% of the total world production.

Mushroom offers prospects for converting lignocellulosic residues from agricultural fields, forests into protein rich biomass. Such processing of agro waste not only reduces environmental pollution but the by product of mushroom cultivation is also a good source of manure, animal feed and soil conditioner.

Cultivation of Oyster Mushroom

The cultivation of Oyster mushroom or Dhingri mushroom or Pleurotus spp is relatively simple and can be a homestead project. The agro- climatic conditions in our country especially in the North Indian States are conducive for mushroom cultivation when the temperature is 15-30°C and relative humidity is 70-80%. The production decreases during peak periods of winter.

Climate & other conditions

Pleurotus spp. is one of the choice edible mushrooms which can be cultivated in the tropics. It has gained importance only in the last decade and is now being cultivated in many countries in the subtropical and temperate zones. Different species of Pleurotus are suited for growing within a temperature range of 15 to 30°C. P.sajor-caju can tolerate temperatures upto 28-30°C, although it fruits faster and produces larger mushrooms at 25°C during the cooler months of the year or in the highlands of the tropics. This is the species now popularly grown in the tropical Southeast Asian countries, including India. P.abalonus prefers lower temperatures of 22-24°C and is most popular among the Chinese. P.ostreatus is the so-called low-temperature Pleurotus, fruiting mostly at 12-20°C. This species is more suited to the temperate climates of Europe and the United States, although many growers in the USA are also producing P.sajor-caju.

In Europe it is known as the oyster mushroom (P.ostreatus) while in China it is called the balone mushroom (P.abalonus or P. cystidiosus). Several other species are now available for cultivation. These are P.sajor-caju, P.florida (probably a variant of P.ostreatus), P.sapidus, P.eryngii, P. columbinus, P.cornucopiae, and P.abellatus.

Inoculation / Spawning

Spawning is carried out aseptically, preferably using the same transfer chamber or the same inoculation room as is used in spawn preparation. Grain or sawdust spawn is commonly used to inoculate the substrate in bags. With grain spawn, the bottle is shaken to separate the seeds colonized with the white mycelium. After lifting the plug and flaming the mouth of the bottle, a few spawn grains (about 1 to 2 tsp.) are poured into the substrate bag. Both the plug of the spawn and the plug of the compost bag are replaced and the next bags are then inoculated. The newly inoculated bags are slightly tilted to distribute the grains evenly in the shoulder area of the bag around the neck.

For sawdust spawn, the spawn is broken up with an aseptic needle. A piece of the spawn may then be transferred, using a long flat-spooned needle especially designed to scoop the spawn. One bottle of grain or sawdust spawn in a 500 ml dextrose bottle is sufficient to inoculate 40 to 50 bags.

The highly industrialized method involves bulk-pasteurisation and bulk-spawning before the substrates are distributed in beds similar to those used for Agaricus. The system is labour-saving but requires more complex equipment. Bulk material processing and handling are highly risky for tropical mushroom cultivation due to the risk of contamination.


  1. Throughout the year
  2. Cultivation is indoor and it requires mushroom house
  3. White oyster (Co-1) and Grey Oyster (M-2) are suitable for Tamil Nadu


  1. A thatched Shed of 16 sq.m. is required. Divide the shed into spawn running and cropping rooms
  2. Spawn running room: maintain 25-300C, provide ventilation, no light is required
  3. Cropping room: Maintain 23-250C, RH above 75-80% with moderate light and aeration.
  4. (Digital Thermometers and Humidity meters are available in the market)


  1. Suitable substrate: Jowar/Cholam/Sorghum, Maize, Wheat grains
  2. Preparation of spawn: half cook the grains, air dry, mix with Calcium carbonate powder at 2% level, fill the grains in empty glucose drip bottles, plug with cotton and sterilize in cooker for 2 hours.
  3. Put the pure culture of the fungus (Procured from agriculture departments/agrl. Universities) and incubate at room temperature for 15 days. Use 15-18 days old spawn for spawning.


  1. Suitable substrate: Paddy/wheat straw, sugarcane baggasse, hulled maize cobs
  2. Cooking of substrate: Cut into 5cm bits, soak in potable water for 5 hrs, boil water for one hour, drain the water, air dry to 65% moisture (no water drips when squeezed between hands)
  3. Preparation of bags:
    • Use 60x30 cm polythene bags (both side open).
    • Tie one end of bag, put two holes of 1 cm dia in the middle.
    • Put handful of cooked straw in the bag to a height of 5 cm; sprinkle about 25 g of spawn.
    • Layer the straw to 25 cm height. Repeat the process to get four layers of spawn and 5 layers of straw.
    • Tie the mouth and arrange beds in tiers in the spawn running room.
    • After 15-20 days, cut and remove the polythene bag and transfer the beds to cropping room.
    • Keep the beds moist by periodical spraying with water.


  1. Mushroom pin heads appear on 3rd day of opening of beds and mature in 3 days.
  2. Harvest matured mushrooms daily or alternate days, before spraying water.
  3. Second and third harvest can be obtained after scraping the surface of beds after first or second harvest.
Preparation of Vermi Composting Medicinal & Aromatic Plants - Aloevera