Use of waste from cardamom production in the cultivation of the edible mushroom

Problem statement

In Mexico, mushroom cultivation allows the recycling of more than 500,000 tonnes of agricultural, agro-industrial and forestry waste per year, thus reducing the environmental impact of the final disposal of such waste.

Executive summary

In the cultivation of mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.) a wide variety of agricultural or agro-industrial waste or by-products can be used as substrate. Pulp from cardamom, lemon or coffee can be used for this purpose, making it possible to reduce the environmental impact of the disposal of these wastes.

Technology description

Mushroom cultivation is an efficient biotechnological system, as high yields and good productivity are achieved with few environmental controls. Mushrooms have short growth times, grow in a wide temperature range and their ability to use various lignocellulosic materials as substrate makes it possible to use regionally available agricultural, agro-industrial and forestry residues. In particular, cardamom pulp can achieve a biological efficiency of ~114% in the production of Pleurotus ostreatus. The results of biological efficiency (BE) vary greatly from substrate to substrate, however, the recommended substrates are those with a BE value close to or greater than 100, which can be achieved by testing some combinations of waste materials or by carrying out some type of pre-treatment of the material such as fermentation, composting or simply pasteurisation. In this way, regionally produced waste can be used to produce high-protein foodstuffs and the exhausted substrate can still be used for both the re-cultivation of edible mushrooms and the remediation of contaminated soils. This is achieved by enriching with other agro-industrial wastes, thus reducing the environmental impact of the exhausted substrate.

Market deployment considerations


Environmental considerations


Technology feedstock

cardamom agri-residues

Type of process

biological treatment

Technology output

biomaterial Edible fungi/mushrooms



Technology Readiness Level







Research and Technological Center

Technology owner/developer

National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico
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