http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.61Change: 0.00
R/$ = 12.46Change: -0.08
Au 1159.17 $/ozChange: -12.72
Pt 1047.00 $/ozChange: -14.20
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Letters Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Aug 10, 2012

Mushroom industry has the option to stop depleting natural resources

Back
Africa|Components|Environment|Mabu Casing Soils|PROJECT|Resources|Sasol|transport|Waste|Water|Africa|Canada|Ireland|South Africa|University Of Pretoria|Chemicals|Energy|Nonsustainable Solution|Soil Producer|Environmental|Linda Meyer|Waste|Water
Africa|Components|Environment|PROJECT|Resources|transport|Waste|Water|Africa|||Energy||Environmental|Waste|Water
africa-company|components|environment|mabu-casing-soils|project|resources|sasol|transport|waste-company|water-company|africa|canada|ireland|south-africa|university-of-pretoria-facility|chemicals|energy|nonsustainable-solution|soil-producer|environmental|linda-meyer|waste|water
© Reuse this



The University of Pretoria (UP) has developed an environment-friendly substrate, the Mabu casing, which is a suitable alternative to the peat soil used for button mushroom production.

Casing soil producer Mabu Casing Soils managing member Dr Linda Meyer says the substrate has the potential to protect the South African mushroom industry against currency fluctuations, increased environmental concerns and peatland depletion.

Mabu Casing Soils was established in 2011 to commercialise the Mabu substrate. The company is the sole intellectual property licensee and holds the rights to sublicence the technology globally.

Meyer reports that the technology has been successfully scaled up from the laboratory phase to the intermediate phase and is now in the commercial phase.

“The commercialisation process has been supported by energy and chemicals group Sasol’s enterprise development division Sasol Chemcity.

“We are currently at a production rate of 860 t/y and aim to produce 30 000 t/y [of casing soil],” Meyer states.

The search for a local alternative substrate to peat soil has been driven and funded by the South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association (Samfa) since 2002 and has been a focus of the mushroom research programme at UP, she adds.

Peat is a nonrenewable fossil fuel and South Africa currently imports peat soil for button mushroom production from the northern hemisphere, which is a nonsustainable solution.

She points out there has been considerable global environmental pressure against extracting this nonrenewable fossil fuel for use in the horticultural and mushroom industries.

Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation and forms when plant material, usually in wet areas, is inhibited by acidic and anaerobic conditions from decaying fully.

One of the most common northern-hemisphere peat components is sphagnum moss, but South Africa’s peatlands mainly comprise decomposed reeds, sedges and grasses.

The South African peatlands are less than 10 000 years old and form at a slow rate of 0.5 mm to 1 mm a year. Thousands of tons of peat have been mined outside Ventersdorp, Potchefstroom and Tarlton for the local mushroom industry.

In 2007, Samfa decided to stop the use of South African-mined peat to ensure that local resources are not depleted and is importing 50 000 t/y of peat soil at a high cost from the Neth- erlands, Canada and Ireland.

“While our remaining local resources are protected, global resources are still being depleted. Of all the natural ecosystems, peatlands are the most vulnerable to sustaining irreversible damage.

“Further, these wetlands are biodiversity hotspots and home to many endangered species. It is reported that these wetlands store at least 550 Gt of carbon – double that of the world’s forest biomass,” Meyer points out.

She adds that healthy peat absorbs and stores carbon, which is a major environmental benefit.

When peat is excavated, the organic carbon that has been stored and built up inside the material over thousands of years decomposes and is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide (CO2).

“About three-billion tons of CO2 a year are emitted through the unearthing and use of peat,” reports Meyer.

She states that the Mabu substrate will help the local mushroom industry preserve natural peatlands and endangered spe- cies, as well as maintain an environmental balance.

“The Mabu casing also offers potential for local production, which creates jobs and adds value to a waste product. It reduces transport and input costs for the mushroom farming industry.

The high carbon footprint of shipping and transporting the imported casing soil is a further incentive to seek a local alter- native casing substrate for button mushroom production,” says Meyer.

Mabu Casing Development
The mushroom industry abandoned its efforts in 2008 and halted the alternative casing project at UP, as alternatives could not measure up to the requirements for button mushroom production.

Between 2002 and 2008, the UP studied wattle bark, filter-cake, coir, braak seedling mix, oasis, boiler smuts, spent mushroom compost, perlite, vermiculite, clay, calcium bentonite, water hyacinth and sugarcane bagasse alternatives.

Nevertheless, the UP decided in 2009 to take raw substrates and change it according to the industry’s needs.

“Raw sugarcane bagasse pith is not suitable as a casing soil,” Meyer reports.

Instead, we developed a process to deplete the nutrients in the pith and improve the structure without losing its exceptional water holding capacity. This is how the Mabu casing came about,” she notes.

The process was patented by the UP in 2010 after an invention disclosure was filed with the university’s Department of Research and Innovation Support.

“We are increasing Mabu casing production as we advance in the commercial phase and realise that we still have a long way to go before we reach the 60 000 t required by the industry every year, which is what we hope to achieve in future,” Meyer concludes.

Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Agricultural Engineering News
MAINTENANCE-FREE SKF’s Agri Hub (top) and Agri Hub 1 maintenance-free bearings were on display at this year’s Nampo agricultural trade show
Technology supplier SKF South Africa displayed its agricultural solutions for the first time at its own stand at this year’s Nampo agricultural trade show, which was held in Bothaville, in the Free State, from May 13 to 16. SKF agriculture key accounts manager Charl...
WACKER NEUSON 1150 WHEEL LOADER The Wacker Neuson 1150 wheel loader makes light work of applications requiring an overload height of more than 3 m
Global construction equipment and compact machinery manufacturer Wacker Neuson plans to further expand its stand at next year’s Nampo agricultural trade show, which will be located in the middle of the new expanded area, close to the southern gate. Wacker Neuson was...
AFRICA’S FIRST SEEDCARE INSTITUTE Syngenta’s Wayne van Rensburg (far right) addresses the media and stakeholders during a walk-through visit at the new Syngenta Seedcare Institute, in Brits
Sustainable agriculture company Syngenta’s Africa Middle East Seedcare Institute, in Brits, focuses on new application technology, ensuring that seed treatments provide an effective way of placing crop protection products directly onto the seeds, Syngenta seed care...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 8 minutes ago The judgment on the urgent interdict brought by trade union Solidarity against telecommunications group Telkom’s restructuring process would be delivered on Wednesday morning. Solidarity lodged an application with the Labour Court accusing Telkom of disregarding a...
Updated 19 minutes ago All new office developments in South Africa should be legally required to offer end-of-trip facilities (EOTF) for cyclists and other nonmotorised transport (NMT) users to incentivise workers to use alternatives to road and rail commuter transport, delegates at the...
Updated 19 minutes ago Revising its initial April trading update for the first half of the 2015 financial year, aluminium manufacturer Hulamin on Tuesday said it now expected earnings to plunge by around 40% on the back of lower volumes, electricity supply curtailments, quality issues and...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Real Economy Year Book 2015 (PDF Report)
There are very few beacons of hope on South Africa’s economic horizon. Economic growth is weak, unemployment is rising, electricity supply is insufficient to meet demand and/or spur growth, with poor prospects for many of the commodities mined and exported. However,...
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book comprises separate reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Water 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2015 (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Real Economy Year Book has been divided into individual reports under the banner Real Economy Insight and investigates key developments in the automotive, construction, electricity, road and rail, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
NHLANHLA NENE The main constraints to economic growth are domestic
Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene earlier this month stated that, while South Africa’s 2015 economic growth target of 2% was achievable, it was not enough to deliver the tax revenue needed to combat the country’s challenges.
The World Steel Association has published the 2015 edition of the World Steel in Figures report, which shows an increase in steel production as well as provides an overview of steel industry activities from crude steel production to apparent steel use.
The 25-year master plan for Gauteng’s Aerotropolis project will go through a process of approval and adoption during June and July, says Aerotroplis project manager Jack van der Merwe. “We are also in the process of putting together a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to...
SOLAR PANELS The existing buildings in the Coega Industrial Development Zone lent themselves well to rooftop solar panel installations
The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) plans to fit 15 of its buildings, totalling 127 000 m2 of roof space, in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ), in the Eastern Cape, with solar panels.
The Supreme Court of Appeal’s (SCA’s) November 2014 judgment, ordering steel producer ArcelorMittal South Africa (AMSA) to hand over the 2003 Environmental Master Plan for its Vanderbijlpark steel plant to environmental pressure groups, confirmed the right of civil...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks
Subscribe Now for $96 Close
Subscribe Now for $96