Microclimate conditions for the incubation of oyster mushroom blocks.
Incubation is the process of mycelium germination and its colonization of substrate. The conditions for the correct incubation process is key to further fruiting and expected fruiting yield.
Requirements for the incubation room:
- The walls, ceilings and floors should be made of construction materials, which are not amenable to rotting, mold formation. Also they should enable systematic sanitation. They can be stone plastered, whitewashed walls or painted, tiled walls or covered with sandwich panels, etc. The ceilings are usually made of concrete slabs, with plastered joints.
- Walls and ceilings insulation is calculated based on maximum tightness and heat resistance. Such calculations can be obtained from organizations offering thermal insulation works. They will provide a range of thermal insulation materials, technical specifications at different prices.
Stable climatic parameters are required to ensure proper incubation regime.
Microclimate system includes:
- air heating system;
- humidification system;
- dehumidification system;
- air cooling system;
- air distribution system;
- air exhaust system;
- system automation unit.
Ventilation in the incubation room
The scheme for ventilation systems is rather standard. It is used for both incubation and fruiting chambers. Plenum and recirculation ventilation principle is used in the room. In other words, the ventilation system in the incubation chamber has no differences in equipment and calculations. You can find more information about the ventilation here. The only difference is that in the incubation of oyster mushroom blocks only recirculation ventilation is applied, providing heat removal to provide heat removal from colonizing oyster mycelium bags. On after 7-9 day of incubation about 10% of fresh air is added into the system. If the temperature at the center of mycelium block rises above 32 degrees, it can overheat the whole substrate block. For this reason the air must be cooled by special air coolers, air conditioners or cooling heat exchangers. If there are no such devices available, then cooling is performed using cool outside air (which is highly undesirable). In all cases, cooling is carried out not very sharply, but gradually lowering the temperature in the room, no more than 1-1.5 degrees in 6 hours.
To avoid this situation, put in an incubator is usually equipped with automation system that maintains stable room temperature defined by a technologist. If incubation is controlled by the operator manually, it must have a detailed log of temperature changes in the center of the block and in the room in order to rapidly react to overheating in mushroom blocks. The main task is to keep a stable temperature in the room during the whole incubation period! When overheating starts, it is important not to lower the temperature in the room sharply, but start to cool the air gradually so that the room temperature always remains optimal. Usually, this temperature is 20-23 degrees, depending on the strain, season and the choice of technology.
Read more about the incubator climate and specific temperature and humidity conditions in the article