BENGALURU: In a first, Indian Institute of Horticulture and Research (IIHR) has come up with a solar power integrated outdoor mushroom growing unit. This 2 cubic metre unit can easily be placed in backyards, balconies or terraces to grow mushrooms. The unit can cost Rs 1 lakh with the solar panels and Rs 40,000 without it.
The unit can built out of easily available material in the market including PVC pipes, nylon mesh, gunny bags and a diaphragm pump. “It is made up of PVC pipes and is covered with nylon mesh to protect it from insects and to facilitate aeration. Further, it is covered with gunny bags, which are dampened to maintain humidity. Then fruit bags containing mushroom mycelium can be placed inside. Due to the cool environment, mushrooms start to grow,” explained Dr G Senthil Kumaran, principal scientist, agriculture engineering.
To dampen the gunny bags, an electric pump is used, which will spray water on them. The electric pump will need electricity and hence a solar panel is installed on top of the unit. The pump will also spray water inside. Further, the unit has wheels for easy transportation.
The average monthly yield is up to 28kg.“You can grow mushrooms even during unfavourable conditions, during April and May, as the mobile chamber provides a good environment. It is also easy to maintain,” he added. The unit was evaluated for two years. Results showed an increase of 108% in elm oyster yield as compared to the cropping room. The white mushroom showed a 51% increase in the mobile unit.
Kumaran said some people can come and learn the technique of building the product at IIHR or they can even buy the unit. “The structure will help in developing entrepreneurship not only in mushroom cultivation but also to build and sell the units. Daily consumption of mushroom can help combat malnutrition and it can also generate additional income for entrepreneurship development, especially among women.”