http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 13.19Change: -0.04
R/$ = 12.10Change: 0.05
Au 1179.46 $/ozChange: 3.26
Pt 1125.00 $/ozChange: 2.50
 
 
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 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 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
South African mining and energy adviser Ted Blom has raised a litany of concerns about the state of power utility Eskom and has warned of runaway costs and shortfalls in coal and water, as well as rail capacity. Blom was surprised by the recent buoyancy shown by...
JSE-listed Astrapak will sell specialised packaging systems manufacturer Knilam to Mapflex SA for R17.7-million. The proceeds would be used to reduce Astrapak’s current level of gearing.
The last of the 26 mooring units comprising the Port of Ngqura’s automated mooring system (AMS) have arrived at the port and are expected to improve port efficiency and safety, further driving the Transnet National Ports Authority’s (TNPA’s) objective of establishing...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2015: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2015 report provides an overview of the key developments in the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon...
Projects in Progress 2015 - First Edition (PDF Report)
In fact, this edition of Creamer Media’s Projects in Progress 2015 supplement tracks developments taking place under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, which has had four bidding rounds. It appears to remain a shining light on the...
Electricity 2015: A review of South Africa's electricity sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Electricity 2015 report provides an overview of State-owned power utility Eskom and independent power producers, as well as electricity planning, transmission, distribution and the theft thereof, besides other issues.
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.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
Sappi Southern Africa CEO Alex Thiel
Forest products group Sappi has confirmed the selection of its 25 MW biomass-to-power project, to be erected at its Ngodwana mill, in Mpumalanga, as a preferred bidder under the South African government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement...
Information and communications technology (ICT) distributor DCC is making Windows- and Android-operating systems tablets available through retailers and education equipment suppliers to provide school children with affordable, high-performance education tools. The...
Another cement manufacturer is set to enter the Ugandan market, raising hopes that prices will come down and spur growth in the construction industry. National Cement, a Kenyan manufacturer, has unveiled plans to invest $195-million in a new manufacturing plant in...
With growth rates exceeding that in the developed world – at an average of between 4% and 5% between 2002 and 2014 – African countries provide investors with ample reason to tap into booming consumer demand says Manufacturing Circle executive director Coenraad...
The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (Sacci’s) Business Confidence Index (BCI) decreased by 3.7 index points month-on-month to 89.1 in March.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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