Collaboration with Mycorrhizal Systems Ltd.
Combining emerging technology with current commercial forestry activities, large volumes of high-value food can be produced in an economical and land-efficient manner.
Ecotmycorrhizal fungi (EMF) are mushroom-producing species that grow in partnership with living trees. Several high value species can be grown in conjunction with the key commercial conifer species that dominate timber production in the UK. By inoculating current planting stock, with these edible species, significant volumes of food can be produced from the same land that is used for timber production. In doing so, key benefits include: development of a new carbon-efficient food production industry, increased employment opportunities in rural areas, significant socio-economic development, presenting incentives for afforestation to help meet UK government targets and mitigating the food-forestry land-use conflict.
However, EMF cultivation is in its early stages and to realise these goals significant research and development activity is needed. In this project we’ll be focussing on developing efficient and highly economical inoculation methods to improve upon current approaches and adapting this approach to a range of species that have not yet been cultivated. Additionally, we’ll be identifying the ideal bioclimatic parameters and suitability gradients using a modelling and simulation approach for a range of climate and land-use scenarios so the technology can be applied in a successful manner. We’ll pair this work with in-field trials to demonstrate the potential and identify the factors needed to support the continuation of the project to large-scale implementation.