Recycling sugarcane industry by-products into mushroom substrates and then soil amendments in a Kenyan circular economy


GCRF AgriFood Africa Innovation Awards Round 6





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About the project

UK-registered Partner: Microbiotech Ltd – Ralph Noble
Africa-registered Partner: Mycelia and Foods Ltd – Collins Mutai

A collaborative partnership of innovative mushroom substrate scientists at Microbiotech Ltd (UK) Modern Mushroom Farmers’ Association, a registered farmer collective that serves small scale mushroom growers in Kenya, and its trading subsidiary, Mycelia and Foods Ltd (Kenya), seek to develop sustainable methods for cultivating mushrooms and amending soils with the organic spent mushroom substrates.

There is an increasing demand for fresh mushrooms in Kenya but conventional raw materials for substrates are expensive and/or unsustainable (wheat straw, hardwood sawdust, imported peat). Key challenges are to produce substrates and subsequent organic soil amendments from sustainable and affordable raw materials.

Key project aims:

  • Identify sugarcane industry by-products that can be recycled into sustainable substrates and casing material for cultivation of button and oyster mushrooms
  • Determine the plant nutrient content of different spent substrates from button and oyster mushroom cultivation
  • Measure tomato plant growth response to soils amended with the new spent mushroom substrates.

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