Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Degree Program

Plant Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Saprophytic fungi can be paired with companion crops in interplant systems to increase production efficiency. However, fungal species/strain, substrate, and inoculation rate can affect the growth of companion crops. This project investigated the viability of open-field mushroom production by interplanting three strains of Pleurotus ostreatus (Elm A, Elm B, and 8801) with kale (B. oleracea var. acephala) and forage radish (Raphanus raphanistrub sub. sativus), and measured the effect of interplanting on plant yield over two field seasons. In the field, Elm A showed an increase in plant yield at a low inoculation rate and decrease in plant yield at a high inoculation rate, compared to the untreated. Conversely, 8801 showed a reduction in plant yield at high and low inoculation rates in the field. Elm B at a high rate showed a reduction in plant yield both in the field and greenhouse. Kale was grown in hydroponics with fungal secretions added at a range of concentrations (10, 100, 1,000 and 10,000 ppm). Elm A showed an overall increase in plant yield in hydroponics, and Elm B showed an overall decrease in plant yield, compared to the untreated. Mushroom production was low in field plots and was not a commercially viable option. Pleurotus ostreatus interplanting methods with companion crops need improvement to make this a commercially viable practice.

First Advisor

Geunhwa Jung

Second Advisor

Marco Keiluweit

Third Advisor

Sergey Savinov