The mushroom industry plays a key role in the EU’s agri-food sector. Nutritionally, it provides a protein-rich alternative to animal products and it is a key source of vitamin D and selenium. Economically, it was valued at €33.7 billion in 2017 and projected to reach €66.8 billion in 2026 (CAGR of +7.9%).
Mushroom cultivation is a highly particular agricultural activity with a unique set of agronomical features and a high sensitivity to several pathogens, which are responsible for major crop losses. Although chemical fungicides (pesticides) have been historically employed, regulatory limitations for mushroom growers and an increasing consumer awareness are urgently requesting solutions to overcome fungicide dependence.
In this context, a new European project has been launched.
The BIOSCHAMP project aims to develop an integrated approach to tackle the mushroom cultivation challenges: an alternative and sustainable peat-free biostimulant casing for the mushroom industry, reducing the dependency on and need for pesticides and contributing to improve the productivity, the sustainability, and the profitability of the European mushroom sector. The project will carry out validations at 3 different commercial mushroom farms to ensure the adaptability of the solution in real conditions.
BIOSCHAMP is a 3.5-year international initiative that is starting on 1st of October 2020 and will run until April 2024. The Mushroom Technological Research Center of La Rioja -Asociación Profesional de Productores de Sustratos y Hongos de La Rioja, Navarra y Aragón- (Spain) (ASOCHAMP-CTICH), will coordinate the implementation of the project. The project counts with the participation of 12 partners from 6 different countries: CTICH (Project coordinator, ES), Inagro vzw (BE), Stichting Wageningen Research (NL), CSIC (ES), Fertinagro Biotech (ES), Ekofungi (RS), Innovarum (ES), EUROCHAMP (ES), Kekkilä-BVB (NL), NF Fibre B.V. (NL), Uprawa Grzybów Łukasz Kiwała (PL) and University of Oxford (UK). In total, the project gathers 5 Research Technological Centres, 3 large companies and 4 SMEs.
BIOSCHAMP is funded by the EU Commission H2020 Programme under the topic SFS-04-2019-2020 – Integrated health approaches and alternatives to pesticide use (Grant Agreement no.: 101000651) and counts with an overall budget of 4.2 million euros.