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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
Western Michigan facility grows morels indoors, year-round * 2
    #4859362 - 10/27/05 03:38 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

Biotech brings mushroom hunt indoors
October 27, 2005 - Michigan State University

SCOTTVILLE, Mich. -- Biotechnology often is heralded as the brave new future of Michigan’s industry.



But not often is biotech called tasty – even gourmet.

A burgeoning new company in northwestern Michigan firmly rooted in Michigan State University knowledge is growing exotic specialty mushrooms – including the coveted morels – in a cavernous facility and selling them fresh in grocery stores across the Midwest.

It’s the first mass indoor production of the elusive morel mushrooms – a food usually known in part for the painstaking hunt to harvest them in the forest. Diversified Natural Products Inc. (DNP) is making them available fresh year round.

DNP has used science and entrepreneurism – much of it from MSU – to transform an abandoned bean cannery in the fields of northwestern Michigan into a high-tech biotechnology plant and laboratory. So far, the company has brought 56 jobs to an area battered by business closings.

DNP is selling two tons of mushrooms a week – in five varieties – under the name Midsummer Exotics. It expects to sell 800,000 pounds of fresh mushrooms a year when it reaches full capacity, said Gary Mills, DNP’s chief executive officer.

“We can’t grow enough mushrooms to satisfy the market right now,” Mills said. “It’s a lot of work – a lot of patience and tender loving care – and a lot of science.”

The company has two divisions – bio-based fuels and chemicals, and gourmet and functional foods. The unifying theme is agricultural-based biotechnology that harnesses readily available natural resources.

“We are using non-genetically modified, natural microbes to make useful products – that’s the common thread of this company,” said MSU University Distinguished Professor Kris Berglund, who is DNP’s chief science officer. “The products we’re developing are exciting, they come at the right time on the market and the interest we’re receiving from literally all over the world is tremendous.”

About the mushrooms:

* They’re not grown in the dark. Instead, the morel, oyster, shitake, cinnamon nameko and black poplar start out in Petri dishes, where the isolated microbes can ferment and grow. Then they’re transplanted to plastic bags containing a mixture of natural biomass. They advance to plastic trays on shelves in cool, moist rooms where they sprout.

* They have particular tastes. Depending on the species, they’re fed clean, freshly cut oak sawdust and soybean husks. Morels grow in deciduous bark and leaf compost. The special diets are blended and pasteurized to become a fungi buffet. All the resources, and the mushroom strains, are local products. That’s a key part of Diversified Natural Products, Berglund said.

* The history dates back to MSU. Mills was an assistant visiting professor at MSU in the 1980s. He left to work on mushroom production in private industry, then returned to MSU in 1998. Much of the groundwork was done on campus.

* Mushroom farming is not for the faint of heart. It’s been an elusive industry for most – especially for the morels. Mills and Berglund note there isn’t much room for the casual cottage industry of mushrooming. The strains must be carefully isolated and screened. Since mushrooms are only briefly in season in the wild, it takes particular strains that can withstand the rigors of quick propagation. Conditions – humidity, temperature, light, nutrients – must be precise. “You have to learn to think like a mushroom,” Berglund said. ”That’s what Gary’s done.”

Currently, Midsummer Exotics are being sold in Meijer stores, through a Grand Rapids-based grocer and in some Whole Foods stores through a Chicago-based distributor.

DNP’s bio-based fuels and chemicals division produces succinic acid from “green” sources. There is enormous global demand for succinic acid for use in everything from industrial solvents and biodegradable polymers to airport runway de-icers. Succinic acid is made from natural sugars, derived from sources such as Michigan corn.

In August, DNP announced a joint venture with Agro Industrie Recherches et D?velopements (ARD) of Pomacle, France, to produce succinic acid.

The French joint venture is the latest signal of the Michigan company’s momentum. Assisted by brownfield credits from the state of Michigan, DNP has invested $11 million in the Scottville site, which is about eight miles east of Ludington. Berglund said that although the value of the new joint venture is proprietary, the international market for succinic acid, which currently derives overwhelmingly from petroleum production, is in the billions of dollars.

Fifteen of DNP’s patents have sprung from Berglund’s research.

For more information, see http://special.newsroom.msu.edu/dnp/index.html


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InvisibleCorporal Kielbasa
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Registered: 05/29/04
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Re: Biotech brings mushroom hunt indoors [Re: veggie]
    #4870984 - 10/30/05 04:18 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

I wouldnt mind working there one bit!

"The company expects to sell 800,000 pounds of fresh mushrooms a year"


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some pipes up for grabs


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InvisibleHolydiver
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Re: Biotech brings mushroom hunt indoors [Re: veggie]
    #4871002 - 10/30/05 04:20 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

Wow!  Where do I send my resume?  :mushroom2: :smile:


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To find a place to live between the negatives and positives.


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OfflineMicrocosmatrix
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Re: Biotech brings mushroom hunt indoors [Re: veggie]
    #4871040 - 10/30/05 04:29 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

Well, for all of the internet blowhards that say that cultivating Morels "can't be done", I guess you were wrong, huh?


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:orly:



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InvisibleCorporal Kielbasa
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Re: Biotech brings mushroom hunt indoors [Re: Microcosmatrix]
    #4871068 - 10/30/05 04:35 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

It can be and has been. Its just a few people that got what it takes to do it. Every buddy else is jealus including me.


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OfflineMicrocosmatrix
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Re: Biotech brings mushroom hunt indoors [Re: Corporal Kielbasa]
    #4871103 - 10/30/05 04:44 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

We need this knowhow on this forum! Someone go get a job there for realz!!


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:orly:



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InvisibleGGreatOne234
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Re: Biotech brings mushroom hunt indoors [Re: veggie]
    #4871718 - 10/30/05 07:27 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

i've heard that the cultivated Morels are not as tasty as the wild ones. i.e. they taste like dirt??

it sure will be cool once everyone else learns how to grow them like that..


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Offlinepshawny
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Re: Biotech brings mushroom hunt indoors [Re: GGreatOne234]
    #4875893 - 10/31/05 06:09 PM (8 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:
"They?re not grown in the dark. Instead, the morel, oyster, shitake, cinnamon nameko and black poplar start out in Petri dishes, where the isolated microbes can ferment and grow. Then they?re transplanted to plastic bags containing a mixture of natural biomass. They advance to plastic trays on shelves in cool, moist rooms where they sprout.

* They have particular tastes. Depending on the species, they?re fed clean, freshly cut oak sawdust and soybean husks. Morels grow in deciduous bark and leaf compost. The special diets are blended and pasteurized to become a fungi buffet."
END QUOTE

It's easy guys.  Just take some deciduous bark & leaf compost, mix in bag, add morel, water, pick.  LOL

We need to get a spy into that place  :bottledup:


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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
Re: Biotech brings mushroom hunt indoors [Re: GGreatOne234]
    #4877919 - 11/01/05 12:57 AM (8 years, 8 months ago)

>i've heard that the cultivated Morels are not as tasty as the wild ones.<

I wouldn't care one bit. If I had access to fresh morels all year long instead of the 2 or 3 weeks I find them now, I would eat them every day! :tongue:


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Invisibleveggie

Registered: 07/26/04
Posts: 13,985
Loc: Flag
Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: veggie]
    #4997900 - 11/30/05 12:12 PM (8 years, 7 months ago)

THE MORELS OF WINTER: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round
November 30, 2005 - freep.com



A man came into Papa Joe's Marketplace in Rochester Hills a few weeks ago, produce manager Arkan Gargees recalls, and asked for dried morel mushrooms. As virtually every Michigander knows, fresh ones are available only in the spring, when they pop up in the woods.

"I told him, 'I've got them fresh.' And he said, 'Where are they? Where are they?' And he bought the last three packages I had," Gargees recounted.

And that was at $12.99 for each 3.5-ounce box.

That's the kind of story Gary Mills and Kris Berglund love hearing.

Mills holds the patent on the process to grow morels indoors, a feat once thought impossible. With backing from Toyota Motor Corp. and other investors, he and Berglund are growing the highly prized fungi and four other exotic mushrooms in a massive new facility in western Michigan, using local forest products such as sawdust, bark and composted leaves.

Sold under the name Woodland Exotics, the mushrooms are showing up in markets in metro Detroit, Lansing, Battle Creek and Chicago. So far, they're getting an enthusiastic reception.

"These were very clean, not like the ones from the fields," said produce manager Joe Moses of Holiday Market in Royal Oak. He bought eight packages of morels and eight packages of mixed varieties the first week they were available and sold out in a weekend. "I definitely want more," he added.

Mills and Berglund, both scientists with ties to Michigan State University, are eager to oblige. In fact, they believe their fledgling company, Diversified Natural Products Inc. in Scottville, near Ludington, can become the Midwest's major supplier of specialty, or exotic, mushrooms.

"We'll harvest 16,000 pounds a week at full capacity, and about 3,000 pounds will be morels. We're already ramping up pretty fast," says Berglund. They opened the 200,000-square-foot facility in late April and hope to be in full swing by spring.

Besides their morels -- a mild-flavored strain -- they grow shiitake and oyster mushrooms, plus two that are even more unusual: the tan-colored Black Poplar, which is grown in Europe, and the vivid orange Cinnamon Nameko, which is the second-most popular mushroom in Japan, Mills says.

Although they're largely unknown here, that's beginning to change. Mills says he saw chef Mario Batali sauteing a pan of Namekos on an "Iron Chef" episode a few weeks ago.

While the company does offer morels separately, it plans to market its mushrooms mainly as a mixture of all five types. Mixing them will help the company deal with uneven crop yields, but mostly, it's a way to stand out at the produce counter.

No one else offers shoppers such an eye-catching mix of colors and shapes, all clearly visible through the plastic container -- and nobody else has morels, period.

"We're the only ones who can produce that particular species of mushroom on a commercial basis," Berglund says.

They aren't interested in growing ordinary white button mushrooms and their brown cousins, cremini and Portobello. Says Mills, "Our whole idea is to sell what other people don't."

Mills and Berglund grow food, use soil, plant things and hope for good crops. They even have a tractor. But only in the most 21st Century sense could these high-tech specialists be called farmers.

"This is not like weekend gardening," says Berglund, who has been at MSU since 1984 and is designated a university distinguished professor. "It's a very, very advanced process we're using -- a serious biochemical process."

The microscopic inoculate, the "seed," that starts the growing process, is created in the laboratory from proprietary strains of morel material cryo-preserved at minus-80-degrees Celsius. As the mushrooms grow over about 12 weeks, they are kept in a series of climate-controlled rooms with different levels of heat, humidity and light. A chemical engineer, Berglund looks for new uses for forest and agricultural products that the company can develop in two areas: gourmet and functional foods, and plant-based fuels and chemicals, both of which interested their Japanese investors, he notes.

The $10.5-million company obtains all its raw materials within a 50-mile radius and employs 56 people in a community hit hard by plant closings, including the abandoned green-bean processing complex that DNP bought, retrofitted and expanded.

It's Mills who is the mushroom expert. "He has learned to think like a morel," Berglund says. "He knows what it wants."

Even so, it has taken the PhD mycologist almost 20 years to turn the morel patent into what, finally, appears to be a viable business.

In the early '90s, a pilot project in East Lansing closed after its chief backer, Domino's Pizza, ended many of its outside investments. Next came a morel-growing operation in Alabama that closed after its parent corporation was purchased by another company.

Says Berglund, "It has taken a long time to reduce the ideas to practice in a correct business model," including the right product mix, location, facilities and financial backing.

Now, seven months after start-up, they're producing about 3,000 pounds of mushrooms a week. Midsummer Exotics are in some Whole Foods and independent markets in metro Chicago, as well as about 30 Meijer stores and numerous specialty markets here and in Lansing and Battle Creek.

If all goes well, the company's retail outlets will increase along with its production -- and with consumer demand.

Chef Brian Polcyn of Five Lakes Grill in Milford, who buys wild morels from foragers all over the state every spring, tried morels from the Domino's pilot project years ago, he says, but they didn't taste like his favorite wild black morels, the most robust type. He hasn't cooked with the latest ones, he says, but he would be willing to try them.

"It comes down to what they taste like," he says. "If they've developed a way to make them taste like real wild mushrooms, they'll have a gold mine."

Mills and Berglund are confident that's exactly what they have.

They are a milder-tasting strain, Mills says, but they have performed well in side-by-side taste tests. And they do have two other important advantages over wild-harvested ones: They're grown in clean, bug-free conditions and they're available all year.

"People who want to hunt morels are going to go out and hunt morels, but in the middle of July," he says, "guess who they're going to get morels from."

Quote:

How to turn cells into morels
At Diversified Natural Products Inc. in Scottville, growing morels requires many steps, perfect conditions and advanced scientific techniques.


The process starts with a substrate, or growing medium, made of leaf and bark composts, plus a second medium of steamed wheat mixed with sugar and yeast. The wheat is the food for the morel's first stage of growth.


Each day, 600 one-gallon starter bags of substrate are prepared by hand, with a layer of wheat on the bottom and compost on top. The bags are wheeled into a walk-in steel chamber, where they're sterilized to kill organisms that might hinder the growth process.


After cooling, the compost is sprinkled with wheat grains covered in morel inoculate -- the microscopic cells that start the growing process.


The inoculate is continuously produced in DNP's high-tech lab, which features HEPA filters, biohazard hoods to kill contaminants, and a cryo-freezer where the company's proprietary stock cultures are held at minus-80 degrees Celsius.


After being inoculated, the bags of compost and wheat are set in a climate-controlled room.


There, over the next five to six weeks, the inoculate will grow white, weblike strands that reach down through the dark compost and into the nutrient-rich wheat at the bottom of the bag. At the end of this stage, the web-filled compost will have solidified into a black, rock-like mass called a sclerotia.


The sclerotia is broken into chunks and planted in trays of soil. Over the next six weeks, the trays are moved through a series of rooms with varying levels of heat, light and humidity.


Ten to 12 weeks after being started, a new crop of brown, elongated, crinkly-capped morels is ready for harvest.


DNP's other strains of mushrooms are less labor intensive, because they grow in the bags in which they're first planted, but like the morels, all require individual handling and carefully controlled growing conditions.




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OfflineRandolph_Carter
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Re: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: veggie]
    #4999367 - 11/30/05 06:39 PM (8 years, 7 months ago)

Someone find that fucking patent. :smile:


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"..all those molecules thrashing their kinky little tails, hot for destiny and the street."  Gibson


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Offlinekoopa_troopa
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Re: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: Randolph_Carter]
    #10041486 - 03/25/09 10:25 PM (5 years, 3 months ago)

http://www.thefarm.org/mushroom/morel.html Found this with just a couple minutes searching. Its a tutorial on growing morels by the man himself, Gary Mills. Its rediculous how similar it is to growing cubes.. Dont see why everyone thought it was so impossible.. Heres another link detailing the process http://www.mykoweb.com/articles/morel_cultivation.html.. now someone get busy before I beat you to it :smile:


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Offlinekoopa_troopa
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Re: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: koopa_troopa]
    #10041733 - 03/25/09 10:55 PM (5 years, 3 months ago)

Here are the patents which provide greater detail on optimal fruit body production and substrate recipe http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4866878.html
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/4594809.html


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Offlinenu2mycology
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Re: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: koopa_troopa]
    #10151766 - 04/12/09 02:16 PM (5 years, 3 months ago)

Sooooo, has anyone here tried to grow these?


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The author of this lies more than the government and you should not believe anything he writes!


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Invisibledr_gonz
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Registered: 08/18/03
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Re: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: nu2mycology]
    #10533396 - 06/19/09 12:03 AM (5 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

nu2mycology said:
Sooooo, has anyone here tried to grow these?




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Offlinebakedpotato
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Re: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: dr_gonz]
    #18290978 - 05/20/13 05:11 AM (1 year, 2 months ago)

I cannot believe this great thread just ends like this somebody must have succeeded?


Edited by bakedpotato (05/20/13 05:12 AM)


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OfflineSillyputty67

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Re: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: bakedpotato]
    #18291788 - 05/20/13 11:21 AM (1 year, 2 months ago)

I started following this last year. This is just what ive heard.

He has since went out of business.
The process only works for yellow morels.
Yellow morels cultivated indoors taste like cardboard.

His technique has been in circulation on the interwebs for quite some time, he has however seemed to leave some very key info out of it, as no one has been able to replicate it.


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OfflineChaO
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Re: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: Sillyputty67]
    #18292132 - 05/20/13 12:49 PM (1 year, 2 months ago)

Thanks for the updated info, interesting turn.


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Xochi please meet our mentor and maker "bob"Opilli great bringer of slack.  I hear hes Irish!? Then again I've heard 100% Slack.


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Offlinebakedpotato
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Re: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: ChaO]
    #18298475 - 05/21/13 04:08 PM (1 year, 2 months ago)

So its doable but they are not tasty no wonder the business went under o well maybe one day someone will figure out how to do this


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Offlinekoopa_troopa
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Re: Western Michigan facility grows the fabled morels and other exotic mushrooms indoors, year-round [Re: bakedpotato]
    #19012978 - 10/22/13 12:38 PM (8 months, 27 days ago)

He went out of biz bc of cultivation problems involving contams.. A lot of chefs said they tasted pretty good actually just not as good as fresh but much better than dehydrated ones out of season


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