The secret to succesful shiitake mushrooms? Electric shock treatment

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The secret to succesful shiitake mushrooms? Electric shock treatment

Written by Kate Ravilious

Japanese farming folklore says lightning makes mushrooms multiply – and research shows there is truth in it

A few years ago, I attempted to grow my own shiitake mushrooms. I purchased a special log, which had been seeded with mushroom spores, and followed the instructions to soak it and then keep it in a shady spot. Sadly no mushrooms ever fruited on my log, but maybe I would have had more luck if I’d given my log an electric shock.

According to Japanese farming folklore, lightning makes mushrooms multiply. Previous research has demonstrated that there is some truth in this tale, and now scientists are closer to understanding why.

Kate Ravilious is a science writer, @katerav

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Innovation and tech in action at Cereals LIVE

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Innovation and tech in action at Cereals LIVE

There is nothing quite like seeing tech in action to understand how it works and how it can be beneficial on farm, which is why Cereals LIVE will be putting demos right at growers’ fingertips.

From state-of-the-art robotics, to autonomous tractors and electronic weeding, Cereals LIVE will have it all available in video demonstrations in the brand new Innovation and Tech Demo ring, says event director, Alli McEntyre. “It’s a brave new world for farming, with innovation driving sustainability and efficiency. Being able to see the most cutting-edge technology in action will give farmers an insight into where their businesses could be headed very soon.”

So what will growers be...