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Pleurotus citrinopileatus

Golden Oyster

Few mushrooms are as spectacular as this one. Its brilliant yellow color astonishes all who first see it. This species forms clusters hosting a high number of individual mushrooms, whose stems often diverge from a single base. Its extreme fragility post harvest limits its distribution to far away markets. Spicy and bitter at first, this mushroom imparts a strong nutty flavor upon thorough cooking. Pleurotus citrinopileatus grows quickly though pasteurized straw and sterilized sawdust, and thrives at high temperatures.

Mycelial Characteristics: Cottony, whitish mycelium, often with tufts of dense growth, sometimes with yellowish tones, and occasionally run through with underlying rhizomorphic strands.

Primordia are yellow at first, especially from strains kept close to their natural origins. Mycelium is dense on grain. Colonization of bulk substrates at first wispy, only becoming dense well after colonization. This mushroom casts a much finer mycelial mat at first than, for instance, Pleurotus ostreatus or P. pulmonarius on wheat straw.

Microscopic Features: This mushroom produces pale pinkish buff colored spores.

Suggested Agar Culture Media: Malt Yeast Agar (MYA) or Potato Dextrose Yeast Agar (PDYA).

Spawn Media: Rye, wheat, sorghum, milo, or millet.

Substrate for Fruiting: Pasteurized wheat, cottonseed hulls, chopped corn cobs, and hardwood sawdusts. Alternative substrates being developed commercially are sugar cane bagasse, paper by-products, banana fronds, and peanut hulls. Every part of the coffee plant can be recycled growing Oyster mushrooms - from coffee grounds to the hulls, stalks, limbs, and leaves.

Yield Potentials: This species is not a prolific as the more commonly cultivated P. ostreatus and P. pulmonarius in the conversion of substrate mass to mushrooms. After the second flush, comparatively few mushrooms form. Biological efficiency rating: 25-75% indoors on wheat straw. Yield efficiencies are higher on cottonseed amended substrates.

---Growth Parameters---

Spawn Run:

  • incubation Temperature: 75-85* F (24-29* C)
  • Relative Humidity: 90-100%
  • Duration: 10-14 days
  • CO2: 5000-20,000 ppm
  • Fresh Air Exchanges: 1-2 per hour
  • Light Requirements: n/a

Primordia Formation:

  • Initiation Temperature: 70-80* (90*) F (21-27* (32*) C)
  • Relative Humidity: 98-100%
  • Duration: 3-5 days
  • CO2: <1000 ppm
  • Fresh Air Exchanges: 4-8 per hour
  • Light Requirements: 500-1000 lux.

Fruitbody Development:

  • Temperature: 70-85* F (21-29* C)
  • Duration: 3-5 days
  • CO2: <1000 ppm
  • Fresh Air Exchanges: 4-8 per hour
  • Light Requirements: 500-1000 lux

Cropping Cycle:

  • Two crops, 10-14 days apart

Comments: An eye-stopper, the Golden Oyster Mushroom is one of the most spectacular of all gourmet mushrooms. When strains of this mushroom are over cultured, the golden color is one of the first features to be lost. The brightness of the gold cap color is directly related to the intensity of light in the growing room. A high temperature tolerant mushroom, primordia will not form below 60-65* F (16-18* C). Coupled with the brevity of time between spawning and fruiting, and its fondness for cottonseed hulls, this mushroom is better suited for cultivation in warmer climates of Asia, the southern United States, or Mexico, or during the summer months in temperate regions. Its penchant for forming clusters make harvesting easy and prevents damage to individual mushrooms.

P. citrinopileatus does however, have some limitations which should be carefully considered before embarking on large-scale commercial cultivation. Pleurotus citrinopileatus is extremely fragile, easily breaking if mishandled, especially along the thin cap margin, complicating long distance shipping. The fruitbodies quickly lose their bright yellow luster subsequent to harvest. Higher spawning rates (15-20% fresh spawn/dry substrate) are required to assure the full colonization of most pasteurized materials. Cropping yields are not nearly as good compared to other Pleurotus species. However, its rarity and broad range of flavors, make this species uniquely marketable and pleasurable to grow.

(Information taken from Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, Paul Stamets)

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