http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.14Change: -0.11
R/$ = 11.73Change: -0.04
Au 1209.05 $/ozChange: -0.30
Pt 1186.50 $/ozChange: -4.00
 
 
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|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|Waste|Water|Africa|||Energy||Environmental|Waste|Water
africa-company|components|environment|mabu-casing-soils|project|resources|sasol|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
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other Agriculture News
JSE-listed Distell FD Merwe Botha will retire at the end of August and as an executive director of the group, effective December 31, leaving the company a legacy of financial health, prudence, integrity and a focus on the delivery of value, says MD Richard Rushton....
Article contains comments
This year, as well as 2016, present significantly difficult seasons for South Africa, as expected poor summer crops will impact negatively on the agriculture sector, with basic food products forecast to be “very expensive” for consumers. South Africa’s maize crop...
MODULAR DESIGN The small cabin is premade in Rustic Homes’s factory in Elgin, about 70 km south-east of Cape Town
Grabouw-based timber homes company Rustic Homes last month launched a rustic modular-design luxury housing solution, the Eco Cabin, which uses locally available materials unique to the Western Cape, onto the national market.
More
 
 
Latest News
Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel
The Department of Economic Development, together with Spanish solar company Abengoa and the Industrial Development Corporation on Monday launched a 100 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) park, about 60 km outside Pofadder, in the Northern Cape. Speaking to journalists...
South Africa could face another delay in its already years-delayed digital migration project if government adopted the much-disputed conditional access (CA) for the set-top boxes (STBs) required to intercept digital broadcasting frequencies. Emerging black-owned...
JSE-listed real estate investment trust Dipula Income Fund has entered into agreements to acquire the Umzimkhulu Shopping Centre, in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as the Corporate Industrial Park, in Polokwane, from two different vendors for R336-million. The industrial...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Construction 2015: A review of South Africa’s construction sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Construction 2015 Report examines South Africa’s construction industry over the past 12 months. The report provides insight into the business environment; the key participants in the sector; local construction demand; geographic diversification;...
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Subscribe to Engineering News and Mining Weekly for two years, but only pay for the first year.  The weekly editions of Engineering News and Mining Weekly will be posted to your preferred postal address and also gain access to:
National flag carrier South African Airways (SAA) is in an advanced stage of renegotiating its deal with European airliner manufacturer Airbus to acquire A320 single-aisle (or narrow body) aircraft. The aim is to replace ten of the aircraft still on order with five...
Worldwide, the main thrust in the ports industry over the past decade or more has been to increase efficiency. Traditionally, ports have been run by engineers and mariners and, in the past, increasing a port’s capacity was achieved by expanding the harbour. “That has...
What do you do when an elephant has a toothache? You call Dr Gerhard Steenkamp from the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) faculty of veterinary science, Onderstepoort, one of only two elephant ‘dentists’ in the world.
The 2015 Sanlam/Business Partners Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition was launched earlier this month in Johannesburg, with the main focus on creating and inspiring entrepreneurs to create jobs and boost the economy.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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