EFFECTS OF DIFFERENT ORGANIC WASTES ON THE GROWTH, YIELD, MARKET QUALITY AND PROTEIN CONTENT OF LENTINUS SQUARROSULUS (MONT.) SINGER, AN EDIBLE NIGERIAN MUSHROOM
Four organic wastes; mahogany (Khaya ivorensis) sawdust (MSD), Gmelina aborea sawdust (GSD), oil palm fruit fibre (OPFF) and oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) were evaluated for their effects on growth, yield, quality and protein content of Lentinus squarrosulus (Mont.) Singer. Plastic bag technology was used with treatments replicated ten times and arranged using a completely randomized design. The quality of the harvested mushrooms was evaluated on the basis of four pileus diameter size groups (>7 cm, 5-7 cm, 3-5 cm, <3 cm) and a deformed group; while their protein analyses were carried out using Kjeldahl’s method. Results on mushroom growth showed that oil palm fruit fibre (OPFF) took the least time for full mycelial colonization and the longest time occurred on Gmelina sawdust (GSD). Analysis of variance showed that there were significant differences (P < 0.05) in the time required for primordia initiation of mushrooms grown on oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB), oil palm fruit fibre (OPFF) and Gmelina sawdust (GSD). Results on mushroom yield revealed that mean fresh weights of harvested mushrooms varied from 4.12 ± 0.16 g on oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) to 16.05 ± 0.68 g on mahogany sawdust (MSD). There were significant differences (P < 0.05) in the biological efficiency of mushrooms grown on mahogany sawdust (MSD), Gmelinra sawdust (GSD) and oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB). Mahogany sawdust produced the highest quality mushrooms, with 26% in the >7 cm group while Gmelina sawdust (GSD) and oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) had none in the same quality group. The percentage protein content of harvested mushrooms ranged from 13.27% for mushrooms produced from mahogany sawdust (MSD) to 27.42% for those grown on oil palm fruit fibre (OPFF). The above findings reveal the possibility of commercial production of high quality L. squarrosulus on oil palm fruit fibre (OPFF) and mahogany sawdust (MSD) while oil palm fruit fibre (OPFF) is recommended as the best substrate for spawn production among the various organic wastes used in this study.