http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.22Change: -0.23
R/$ = 11.16Change: -0.09
Au 1240.10 $/ozChange: -4.17
Pt 1243.50 $/ozChange: -18.70
 
 
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 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|Transport|Environmental|Linda Meyer|Waste|Water
Africa|Components|Environment|PROJECT|Resources|Waste|Water|Africa|||Energy|Transport|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|transport-industry-term|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
Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies has reiterated his department’s support for agroprocessing, saying on Monday that it had injected some R1.2-billion into the industry since 2009. Government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan had identified the agroprocessing...
DESIGNED FOR ADVERSE CONDITIONS The saturated, muddy sludge that can characterise Asia’s arable land presents unique performance challenges for electrical and mechanical components
An agricultural industry-based hydraulic system, the Electrohydraulic Hitch Control (EHC-8) from engineering firm Bosch Rexroth, recently underwent enhancements to replicate the same, precise regulation of power and positioning for the lifting and lowering of towed...
Particulate matter pollution remains a problem in major cities and industrial zones in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. The most populated and industrial areas are consistently above the Air Quality Act standards for particulate matter and significantly above...
Article contains comments
More
 
 
Latest News
The Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) has outperformed its targets over the past financial year and contributed R3.1-billion to the gross domestic product in the 2013/14 financial year. CTICC CEO Julie-May Ellingson said the convention centre had been...
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown
Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown has released details of the remuneration of the chairpersons and nonexecutive directors of the various State-owned company boards falling under her Ministry. The remuneration figures, which are attached, are based on figures...
Installed wind power capacity could swell by 530% to 2,000 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, supplying up to 19% of global electricity, a report from a trade association and Greenpeace said on Tuesday. It said installed wind energy capacity totalled 318 GW at the end of last...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
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.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
The broad-based black economic-empowerment (BBBEE) alignment process in the con-struction sector has begun, dur-ing which the sector codes of the Construction Sector Charter Council (CSCC) will be aligned with the revised Codes of Good Practice (CoGP), which come...
It is second time lucky for Toby Venter. Ten years ago he negotiated to buy the Kyalami racetrack, but “the deal did not materialise”.
Environmental solutions company I-Cat started construction work on its R22-million, 1 949 m2 environmentally sustainable office and warehouse facility, commissioned by I-CAT Environmental Solutions, at a launch event in October. The new sustainable I-CAT campus,...
IAN EVANS AirWatch file synchronisation and sharing system was initially designed for a large airline company
Effective file synchronisation and sharing across an organisation’s structures can provide the basis for robust mobile-device and document management while maintaining proper backup, version control and content distribution. These are the lessons learned by complex...
Hotel group Carlson Rezidor currently holds the largest hotel pipeline in Africa with 30 hotels and 6 300 rooms under development. The hotel group develops and operates Radisson Blu in the upper upscale segment and Park Inn by Radisson in the mid-market segment. With...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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