http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 16.15Change: 0.05
R/$ = 14.18Change: 0.12
Au 1275.17 $/ozChange: 10.90
Pt 1062.50 $/ozChange: 16.50
 
 
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 About 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|Innovation|Mabu Casing Soils|PROJECT|Resources|Sasol|Technology|transport|Waste|Water|Africa|Canada|Ireland|South Africa|University Of Pretoria|Chemicals|Energy|Nonsustainable Solution|Soil Producer|Environmental|Linda Meyer|Waste
Africa|Components|Environment|Innovation|PROJECT|Resources|Technology|transport|Waste|Water|Africa|||Energy||Environmental|Waste
africa-company|components|environment|innovation|mabu-casing-soils|project|resources|sasol|technology|transport|waste-company|water|africa|canada|ireland|south-africa|university-of-pretoria-facility|chemicals|energy|nonsustainable-solution|soil-producer|environmental|linda-meyer|waste



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

To subscribe email subscriptions@creamermedia.co.za or click here
To advertise email advertising@creamermedia.co.za or click here
 
Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Agriculture News
One of the key messages to emerge ahead of the review of South Africa’s sovereign credit rating is that the country needs to outline the practical actions it will take to reignite growth, which has more or less petered out in recent years, with few expecting the...
In an attempt to maintain a pro-poor stance on public spending aimed at improving social development, the City of Ekurhuleni will inject R3.5-billion of its 2016 budget for into its community empowerment package, Mintirho Ya Vula Vula. Tabling the budget vote for the...
The Namibian Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) has warned that illegal fishers stationed alongside Namibia’s 140-km-long Zambezi River border, which it shares with Zambia, are bleeding revenue from the country’s fishing industry. Speaking from...
More
 
 
Latest News
Updated 1 hour 32 minutes ago South Africa's rand extended its gains against dollar on Friday to hit a five-month high after a court ruled that a 2009 decision to drop 783 corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma was irrational and should be reviewed. The rand hit a high of 14.1650 per...
Atul Gupta
Updated 1 hour 49 minutes ago Cabinet expects to get a report on the ANC’s internal investigation into allegations that the Gupta family are influencing government decisions within a fortnight, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Friday. “There is a process taking place from the ANC’s...
Jacob Zuma
Updated 2 hours 4 minutes ago South Africa's High Court on Friday ruled that a 2009 decision to drop 783 corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma should be reviewed, another setback for the scandal-ridden leader, who faces calls for his resignation. The decision to set aside the charges...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Automotive 2016: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Automotive 2016 Report provides an overview of South Africa’s automotive industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into local demand and production, vehicle imports and exports, investment and competitiveness in the sector, as well...
Energy Roundup – April 2016 (PDF Report)
The April 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for March 2016 and includes details of a North Gauteng High Court Judge’s dismissal of a court application to postpone the 9.4% electricity tariff increase, which the National Energy Regulator of South...
Electricity 2016: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2016 report provides an overview of South Africa’s electricity sector, focusing on State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
Energy Roundup – March 2016 (PDF Report)
The March 2016 roundup covers activities across South Africa for February 2016 and includes details of the Department of Energy’s plans to announce the preferred bidders for the first tranche of the coal independent power producer procurement programme; the Council...
Steel 2016: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2016 Report examines South Africa’s steel industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the global steel market and and particularly into South South Africa’s steel sector, including production and consumption, main...
Construction 2016: A review of South Africa's construction industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2016 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; key participants; local demand; geographic diversification; corporate activity; black economic...
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
The two spent-fuel pools at Eskom’s 1 800 MW Koeberg nuclear power station, in the Western Cape, will be full by 2018, increasing the urgency on the State-owned utility to begin pursuing alternative storage options. Koeberg has, over the past 32 years, accumulated a...
South Africa lacks the skills necessary to implement the government’s plan to build 9.6 GWe of new nuclear energy capacity, warns nuclear-qualified Quality Strategies International CEO David Crawford. “Apart from the concern about the affordability of the programme,...
DOROS HADJIZENONOS The 700-series devices provide network security monitoring, app control, URL filtering, VPN security, antivirus, antispam, antibot, and advanced intrusion prevention and detection functionality
Cybersecurity multinational Check Point has released its latest 700-series cybersecurity systems for small businesses, which draw on its international threat intelligence to provide up-to-date cybersecurity, says Check Point South Africa country manager Doros...
Daimler Trucks and Buses Southern Africa (DTBSA) saw a marked slip in new-vehicle sales in 2015 compared with 2014, with sales dropping from 5 897 units to 5 300 units. The decline came as the South African new truck and bus market declined from 31 558 units in 2014...
Group of 20 (G-20) economies threatened to penalise havens that don’t share information on their banking clients after the leak of the Panama Papers provoked a global uproar over tax evasion. The G-20 will consider “defensive measures” against financial centers and...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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 $149 Close
Subscribe Now for $149