and ZERI supports ZERI (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives)

Was ist ZERI ?
ZERI is an international network of academics, business people, administration specialists, farmers and teachers, who are looking for solutions to basic needs of people - water, food, medical treatment, housing, energy and work. Looking at the example of nature and using suitable technology, ZERI develops all round strategies for industry and farming, see .
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The contact between ZERI and first took place on World Fair Weltausstellung Expo 2000 in Hannover. ZERI built a bamboo pavillion at the EXPO and presented various projects from around the world.

One of the projects is the growing of Shii-Take mushrooms on used coffee grains in Columbia. Zeri demonstrated a kind of economic recycling, which benefitted the local farmers and coffee farms with new production possibilities:

Coffee farmers harves the fruits (each fruit contains 2 coffee beans in a kind berry) from the coffee bushes. The final quantity of coffee beans is only about 3.7 % of the total biomass of the bushes. When the berries are removed from the fruits, they only consist of 0.2 % of the total biomass, i.e. 98,8 % is normally wasted.


Kaffeesubstrat mit Pilzmycel, Durchwachsphase

Research project under the leadership of Frau Carmenza Jamarillo and Frau Maria Aponte (Columbian) and Prof. Dr. S. T. Chang (Chinese University of Hong Kong) showed that it was possible to harvest 75 kg of mushrooms from 100 kg of waste biomass from the coffee farms (prune branches, leaves, unused part of the fruit). It is only necessary to sterilize and pasturize the biomass before innoculation.

The harvesting of the mushrooms is a significant additional income for the coffee growers whose income from coffee production is dropping continuously due to the world wide overproduction.

After harvesting the mushrooms, the remaining biological material has further uses:


Kaffeesubstrat mit Shii-take-Fruchtkörpern

Due to the mushroom growing the vegetable biochemical materials are reduced sufficiently to allow the remaining material to be used as a nutritional feed for pigs and cows. So the coffee growers who have decided for this type of production don't need to cut down their plantations if they want to breed animals on pastures but instead can use the method developed by ZERI to feed their animals with waste products. One hectare of pasture produces enough food for two cows. If you grow mushrooms on the coffed waste it is possible to feed 8 cows per hectare of the coffee plantation.

 This benefits the farmers with an income which is not solely dependent on the finalp product and benefits the environment due to soil protection (avoidance of erosion on pasture land).

A further component in this way of farming is the production of biogas from the resulting animal dung. This is used to generate electricity which is required to stirilize and pasturize the mushroom substrate.

Click here if you want to try out growing oyster mushrooms on waste coffe grounds yourself.

Nicola Krämer, Hannover * Marketing of mushroom-growing products * Home