The mushroom industry plays a key role in the EU’s agri-food sector. Nutritionally, it provides a protein-rich alternative to animal products and it is a key source of vitamin D and selenium. Economically, it was valued at 33,7 billion EUR in 2017 and projected to reach 66,8 billion EUR in 2026 (compound annual growth rate: +7,9%).
The Bioschamp project, coordinated by one of the Spanish Association of Mushroom Growers (Asochamp) which hosts the Research Center of Mushroom (CTICH), aims to develop an integrated approach to tackle the mushroom cultivation challenges by:
- offering an alternative and sustainable peat-free biostimulant casing for the mushroom industry,
- reducing the dependency on and need for pesticides and
- contributing to improve the productivity, sustainability and profitability of the European mushroom sector.
The mushroom sector actively fosters circular sustainable business models: compost – i.e. substrate used to grow mushrooms - is made of manure and agricultural by-products (waste side-streams).
Bioschamp will further facilitate circularity and resource efficiency in the mushroom sector by developing a biostimulant peat-free casing soil (a layer of substrate – usually peat-based – placed over the compost to induce fructification) from waste streams/by-products.
Main activity field:
- Bioschamp will develop a peat-free casing soil to serve as a carrier for selected microbiota (bacterial strains) that will act as crop biostimulants.
- It will integrate natural fibres (based on biomass from agricultural residual waste streams) and spent casing (reclaimed from mushroom cultivation) in a solution that combines two 100% bio-based, renewable and synergistic components. Peat is a non-renewable resource, and currently there is a gap in the market for a biobased alternative to it.
- This solution will also be an alternative to pesticides, contributing to improve the productivity, sustainability, and profitability of the European mushroom sector. The goal is to improve the mushroom sector industrial profitability while reducing the agronomical need for pesticides by 90 %.