Commercial producers of white button mushrooms utilise a casing material to cover the spawn
run compost, which stimulates the mushrooms’ reproductive stage. Certain bacteria in this casing are responsible for this stimulation, which is known as pinning. Bacterial species richness and diversity within peat and peat-based casing mixtures made from industrial waste materials (i.e. those containing coir, wattle bark, bagasse and filter cake) were examined using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) at three phases of mushroom growth: (1) casing, (2) pinning and (3) harvesting. Results from the DGGE established that higher bacterial species richness occurred at pinning and harvesting than at casing. Increases in bacterial population density at pinning were greater in the peat-based mixtures, which contained industrial waste materials, than in peat alone. Peat mixtures containing these alternative materials are therefore favourable substrates for bacterial
growth. The DGGE profiles for pasteurised casing materials reflected their ability to rapidly reestablish the original bacterial community. The bacteria found to be dominant in casing materials
during pinning were closely related to Pseudomonas, Flavobacterium, alpha-Proteobacterium, beta-Proteobacterium, gamma-Proteobacterium, delta-Proteobacterium and uncultured species.