Newsletter Article
September 1995

Recent U.S. Patents

Delayed-Release Nutrient

Inventors Peter Romaine and Alan Marlow obtained a patent on a seed-based delayed release nutrient source for mushroom cultivation. The patent (#5,427,592) has been assigned to The Penn State Research Foundation (University Park, Pennsylvania). In Agaricus cultivation, protein-rich supplements are often added to the composted substrate either at the time of spawning or at the time the substrate is covered with a peat or soil "casing". These supplements are typically treated to prevent contaminants from getting access to them before the mushroom's mycelium. According to the patent, Spawn Mate accomplishes this by formaldehyde denaturation of the protein and the Campbell Soup Company encases the protein in a film of the water-soluble fungicide "Mertect". These processes are patented by the firms involved. The patent at hand covers the use of heat-treated seeds from oilseed plants. Apparently the heat-treating process prevents the seed from germinating and they function quite well as a delayed release nutrient without further processing. Rape seed seems to work the best. The obvious advantage to this process is the elimination of the chemicals associated with the other patented processes.

Retail Packaging

This invention (#5,427,808) was developed by Loyal Adams and has been assigned to United Foods, Inc. (Bells, Tennessee). The product is essentially a plastic box (air and moisture impervious) with elliptical ventilation slots on all sides except the top and front. The openings use less than 10% of the surface area of those sides. The invention is said to be an improvement over supermarket display of mushrooms in their shipping cartons because it controls the atmosphere around the mushrooms and protects the mushrooms from the adverse effects of misting that is common in most supermarkets.

To Get Patent Details

To get a copy of any patent, worldwide, you must know the patent number. You can then fax your request, on your company letterhead, to Rapid Patent at 1-800-457-0850. The firm will mail your copy to a U.S. address via first class mail within three days. The cost is $3.95 per U.S. patent and $19.50 per foreign patent. You will be invoiced for the total. Be sure to note that you are a new customer so that they can set up an account for you. For more information call their voice number at 1-800-336-5010.

As of March 23, 2009, you can find patents at: Google Patents at no charge.