University of Kentucky researchers producing mushrooms from distillery waste

December 14, 2022 |

In Kentucky, mushrooms and distilleries have quite a bit in common thanks to students at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. With funding from the UK Office of Sustainability, a group in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, and the Department of Horticulture, is looking for ways to raise fungi using spent grains from local distilleries.

UK sits in the heart of bourbon country, so spent grains are quite prevalent. While other uses, such as cattle feed, have been established to deal with these grains, that avenue is only so large. UK CAFE students found that spent grains are excellent for growing mushrooms, coined “Bourbon Shrooms”.

The group is currently concentrating on oyster mushrooms as they are fast-growing, hardy and easily fruit. They are also well-suited for small-scale production in Kentucky. At some point, the researchers hope to include lion’s mane and shiitake mushrooms in their studies. 

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