What to do with your remaining growing medium...
Mushroom compost in animal feed may improve antioxidants, metabolism
The mushrooms fruit and are ready to harvest. That leaves behind a compost made of water, hardwood pellets, and some waste material, such as soybean meal or wheat bran.
To avoid becoming waste material itself, the mushroom compost can go from feeding mushrooms to feeding animals. A recent academic article studied the nutritional benefits of mushroom compost as a feed supplement for animals. The researchers found the compost may improve animal health by providing antioxidants and helping improve fat metabolism. Let's take a closer look.
Mushroom compost contains mycelium. Put simply, mycelium is a fungus like yeast, except that it branches out like a root to find small molecules of food, breaks them down, and absorbs them to begin growing mushrooms.
The mycelium found in mushroom compost can increase antioxidant capacity in broiler chickens, according to the study. More antioxidants mean more defences to protect the body against bad atoms potentially causing diseases. (For the kids and teens, more antioxidants mean more super monkeys popping balloons seeking to drain your health in Bloons Tower Defense.)
High-fibre plant materials are not traditionally used in animal feed since fibre is low in energy and is tougher to digest. However, the researchers found adding some fibre to animal feed also increases antioxidant capacity along with supporting the gut, promoting muscle mass gains, and improving fat metabolism (the breakdown or storage of fats for energy).
Mushrooms need a lot of fibre to grow, and the mushroom compost is high in fibre as a result.
To determine how much of the compost in animal feed works best for broiler chicken health, the researchers supplemented either 0.5%, 1% or 2% of compost in the overall animal feed. They found 0.5% of the mushroom compost in animal feed is the most effective way to improve metabolism and antioxidant capacity.
Those with mushroom grow kits and livestock have a new idea to try with their leftover mushroom compost. For humans who want more antioxidants in their diet, check out our oyster mushrooms.
Disclaimer: Despite the references provided, the information on this page is for educational purposes only.