student profile: Miss Meghann Thai


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Microbial characterization to improve the consistency of Mushroom compost

Supervisors: Tina Louise BELL , Michael KERTESZ

Thesis abstract:

Agaricus bisporus, 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 composted wheat straw, chicken manure and gypsum. These ingredients go through a number of processes that allows for the selective nature of the substrate.
Preliminary studies show that there are 30,000 different microbial taxa present in mushroom compost, starting from raw materials to the end of mushroom harvesting. A particular area of interest is Phase 2 compost, where four microorgamsism show similar growth patterns in the same time period. These microoganisms come from the family Chitinophagaceae, and the genera Steroidobacter and Pseudoxanthomonas, and the fungus Mycothermus thermophilus.
The purpose of this study is to identify the microoganisms that are functionally important to mushroom composting. This study also aims to identify interactions between these microorganisms and the Agaricus mushrooms, so that composters can produce compost that with consistent quality.

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