Mushroom farming is a fast-growing sector in the UK. The recent plant-based revolution in food production due to more people turning to veganism, and the many health benefits of mushrooms, including high fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, puts them in high demand.

However, like any other farming technique, there is still an opportunity to develop and introduce more sustainable and waste-efficient methods to produce crops.

To this end, Canterbury Christ Church University has launched a new partnership with local SMEs to develop sustainable mushroom farming to reduce carbon emissions.    

The collaborative project will work on mitigating environmental issues by capturing the carbon dioxide produced during cultivation using microalgae.

The University’s life science academics will identify suitable types of microalgae (algae needs carbon dioxide to grow) to utilise the carbon dioxide released by mushrooms, instead of releasing it into the atmosphere.  

The algae grown on waste carbon dioxide will then be used as a feedstock to produce products across a range of sectors, including personal care, healthcare, and nutraceutical markets.

The process of cultivating mushrooms with algae will be used as a feedstock to produce products across a range of sectors, including personal care, healthcare, and nutraceutical markets.

The Canterbury Christ Church research team consists of Dr Asma Ahmed and Dr Joseph Burman, Senior Lecturers in the School of Psychology and Life Sciences, who will be working with Algae Cytes and Edible Kingdom, two local companies.


Algal cultures from the University labs
Algal cultures from the University labs

Dr Asma Ahmed, commented on the new partnership.

“This is an exciting project, she said.

“It involves a unique partnership between the University and two companies, all working towards designing a sustainable process to mitigate carbon emissions, and to develop novel, natural products using algal and mushroom waste.

“This is also a great opportunity for staff and students within the school to engage with the industry.”

AlgaeCytes, based at Discovery Park in Kent, has developed innovative processes to produce multiple high-value products from microalgae that are used in the nutraceutical and agricultural sectors.


As growers we are always concerned with making crop production more efficient and sustainable. We recycle and compost all our solid waste, use limited water and heating, but currently spend a significant amount of money and electricity on dealing with our direct carbon emissions via C02. This project offers an innovative way to significantly reduce these emissions and get some other useful products in the process. In the future, we hope to become an inspiration for others in the industry who wish to do the same.

Dr Joe BurmanSenior Lecturer in Life Sciences at the University & Co-Director at Edible Kingdom

Donal McGee, Algaecytes, said: “We hope that this project will strengthen the collaboration between AlgaeCytes, Edible Kingdom and the University, and will help create new IP opportunities for both companies.”

Edible Kingdom is a family-run mushroom producer in Kent, focused on growing high-quality edible mushrooms from local resources and organic wastes.

A PhD student, funded by the school scholarship is currently working on identifying the most suitable microalgal strains for carbon capture.

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