student profile: Miss Meghann Thai


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Identification and quantification of microorganisms in Phase II mushroom compost and their interaction with Agaricus bisporus

Supervisors: Tina Louise BELL , Michael KERTESZ

Thesis abstract:

�em�Agaricus bisporus�/em�, commonly known as the White button mushroom, is the 6th most valuable crop in the horticultural industry. They are high in essential nutrients and dietary fibre and, attract more attention with each and every passing year. Mushroom compost is a selective substrate that is made from wheat straw, chicken manure and gypsum. These ingredients go through a number of processes that allows for the selective nature of the substrate, for example, pre-wetting known as Phase I, pasteurization and conditioning, known as Phase II.�br /� Preliminary studies show that there are 30,000 different microorgansism present in mushroom compost, starting from raw materials to the end of mushroom harvesting. A particular area of interest is Phase II compost, where four microorgamsism show similar growth patterns in the same time frame. The bacteria have only been indentified down to genus; �em�Chitinophaga, Steroidobacter�/em� and �em�Pseudoxanthomonas�/em�.�br /� The purpose of this study is to identify these microoganisms to species level and determine population densities of these organisms. Futhermore, this study aims to identify interactions between these microorganisms and the �em�Agaricus�/em� mushrooms, and to determine if these microbes play a role in growth promotion of �em�Agaricus bisporus�/em� mushrooms.

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