06 Feb Penn State Mushroom Spawn Lab: One living stock collection can support an entire regional agriculture industry
If you have eaten mushrooms lately, there’s a good chance they could be directly connected to an important living stock collection. 63% of U.S. mushrooms are cultivated in Pennsylvania, thanks to some folks who had a grand vision in the 1920s. The Mushroom Spawn Lab at The Pennsylvania State University launched and now continues to support the regional mushroom industry by maintaining and distributing hundreds of different mushroom cultures. The collection contains 700 isolates of 171 mushroom species. The program also hosts workshops and short courses for growers to learn new knowledge and skills including the latest advances in product quality, food safety, pest management, energy use, dietary health and other topics that continually improve the mushroom industry. Some of the improved cultivation technologies taught in the courses are developed at the associated Mushroom Research Center. Thanks to the contributions of the Penn State spawn lab and research and extension programs, there are more than 50 family-owned mushroom farms in Chester County, PA alone.
Take-home message that applies to many collections:
A living stock collection created with a long-term vision provides a platform for future innovation and entrepreneurship.
Thank you John Pecchia, Penn State Mushroom Spawn Lab for fact checking