Does the Addition of Oyster Mushrooms to Soil Regulate PH?

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Elise Brown
Danielle Winget


Record ID: 205

Mentorship Award: Excellence in Research Mentoring

Type: Poster Presentation (in-person)

Advisor: Danielle Winget

Abstract: The effect of Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster mushrooms) on soil pH was studied in a soil compost mixture in lab as well as in the field. The study consisted of three parts. Firstly, 12 pots with fungi and 12 pots without fungi were divided and watered at pHs 6.1, 7.4, and 8.4 weekly. No changes were observed in soil pH or mycelium growth after watering with the three different pH solutions. Fungal presence did affect soil pH, although not statistically significantly. Next, soil pH was measured in natural environments at the Cincinnati Nature Center (CNC). Five fungal sites were chosen, and soil pH was measured along replicate transects within 5 meters on six sampling days from February to March 2023. Soil pH did vary with distance from fungal fruiting bodies, but not with a consistent pattern across these sites. The percent change in soil pH with distance from fruiting bodies was also not significant nor showed a discernable trend. Finally, 16 pots with fungi and 16 pots without fungi were divided and given one of three different common soil fertilizers to view any changes in soil pH with and without inclusion of P. ostreatus. In these experiments, fungi presence moderated soil pH more quickly compared to treatments without fungal mycelia, although soil pH with and without fungi was identical by four weeks after amendment. Since none of the experiments yielded statistically significant differences in soil pH without and without fungi or with different soil treatments, we cannot conclude that P. ostreatus or other fungi presence alone regulates soil. However, the presence of fungi is clearly one factor in determining soil conditions and further experimentation is warranted, especially on the prevalence and diversity of fungi at the CNC.

Article Details

Category: Ecosystems & Biodiversity
Author Biography

Elise Brown, University of Cincinnati

Major(s): Biology