With increasing globalization, population growth and the accumulation of lifestyle diseases, we are currently facing a lot of health issues, without having effective solutions in so many cases. To be more precise, antibiotic resistences, increasing food supplies and pollution growth require new solution approaches based on scientific research. An organsim, which could possibly provide a solution for the aforementioned issues would be fungi. Biologically, fungi are a higher and more intelligent form of life than bacteria.
From 1.5 million fungi species, 10,000 produce fruiting bodies, called mushrooms. About 300 species are edible mushrooms and 30 of them were already domesticated for cultivation. The fact that many fungal cultures have not been adequately researched yet shows the great potential for future applications in various fields.
Many fungi species need changes in temperature, humidity, substrate and light parameters to form fruiting bodies. Large scale productions require high technical resources and the operation is usually quite expensive. Cultivating mushrooms is associated with labour-intensive work. (D. L. Barney, 2016)[ ]
This thesis deals with the design of an incubator, controlled by a minicomputer the Raspberry Pi. The incubator is intended to enable the reproducible autonomous breeding under consideration of the required parameters, temperature, humidity and illumination. The incubator automates the cultivation process of fruiting body forming species. Saving time and an amount of work are one of the benefits.
This project is a collaboration between Matthias Gerstl and Christoph Köcher, while Matthias Gerstl has written 2.2 Microbial degradation of hydrogen compounds, 2.4 Defensin Copsin, 3.7 Sensor AM2302, 3.8 Temperature & humidity and 3.9 Illumination. Christoph Köcher has written 2.1 Fungi nature, 2.3 Food industry and 3.10 Phase detection. This work deals with the properly connection of the Raspberry Pi with a temperature/humidity sensor and a 1080p IR camera. The constructed incubator is fully able to handle and control the parameters temperature, humidity and illumination of the cultivation process by using a phase detection camera. This means the camera is able to recognize different growth heights and assimilate independently the needed parameters.
This thesis describes less about hygienic requirements of the cultivation process, nevertheless, cultivation is fully feasible by using laminar flow and UV sterilization. The applied principles are also suitable for scaling up, but there are additional aspects to keep in mind such as preparation protocols and standards (GMP, GHP, GDP, HACCP) and changes of correlated parameters like humidity and ventilation systems. The purpose of this thesis is primarily concerned with the ability of prototyping a reproducible and documentable cultivation of small units of fruiting body building species, to be used for basic research or industrial product development.