Archive: Aug 2023

Why Sterilize Soil and Mushroom Substrates With Steam

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For successful mushroom substrate cultivation, it’s important to implement soil steam sterilization. Soil steam sterilization is a low-pressure steam process that helps eliminate any potential pathogens, mold, contaminants, weeds, and insects from impeding the mushrooms’ growth. Here we’ll discuss the advantages and applications of this proven process.

A Time-Tested, Chemical-Free Solution

Putting soil in bags as part of steam sterilizationOriginally begun over 100 years ago, soil steaming remains one of the most well-established and reliable soil treatments. Historically, it primarily helped eliminate weeds, but many applications now use it as an alternative method to chemical solutions to eliminate diseases, pests, and contaminants.

In the 1950s, chemicals took over in popularity as a solution to most agricultural problems. Farmers came to believe that synthetic chemicals could control any type of pest or disease, but in reality, these chemical solutions were harmful to organic life and unsustainable over the long term.

Using only heat and water, steam is chemical-free and far safer to use, and its applications extend beyond soil pasteurizing to sterilizing any growing pot, tray, bench, or other isolated container. Another advantage of soil steam sterilization is the fact that, unlike chemicals, the weeds eliminated through steaming won’t grow resistant to this treatment. Steam sterilization physically damages the weed’s capillaries to prevent photosynthesis.

Soil Health

Stacks of oil substrate stored in warehouseProper soil steaming does not completely sterilize the soil, killing off both beneficial and pathogenic microbes. Rather, it’s a pasteurization process that leaves the good microbes while killing off the pathogens and weeds. Soil steaming has few lasting effects on soil quality and microbe communities. Following steam pasteurization, biodiversity returns rapidly to the soil, akin to what occurs following a forest fire. This gives mushroom substrates the ideal environment to grow and propagate.

Versatility of Steam Generation for Soil Sterilization

Steam offers more versatile applications for soil pasteurization than chemicals. In addition to soil, it works to sterilize pots, trays, benches, and other types of DIY vessels. When integrated with a steam generator, any container that can hold steam and maintain temperatures for a certain length of time is a viable autoclave. These include refrigerators, walk-in freezers, sheds, and more.
Unseen person holding mushroom substrate bag
With this in mind, you can use soil steam sterilization to reap a variety of benefits, such as:

  • Full utilization of plant assets
  • Reuse potting soil and vessels
  • Reduced labor costs
  • Elimination of harmful chemical solutions
  • Faster planting
Why Sterilize Soil and Mushroom Substrates With Steam
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Learn More with Electro-Steam

The benefits of using a steam sterilizer on mushroom substrates and soil make this solution ideal as a safe and versatile alternative to chemicals. Steam helps improve the efficiency of sterilization, maintains better biodiversity, and offers more operational flexibility.

Considering purchasing a steam sterilization system for your soil or mushroom substrate? Electro-Steam offers plenty of solutions, including industrial process steam generators for a range of uses. We also offer food safety sanitation systems for food and beverage applications.
Contact us today to learn more about our equipment and to find the right solution.