Summary: , the cultivated mushroom, was able to mineralize dead C-labelled and utilize the cellular components as sole source of carbon and nitrogen for growth. Consistently higher levels of bacteriolytic activity were obtained when was grown on lower concentrations of bacteria, 1·5 mg ml as opposed to 3 mg ml basal liquid medium. also mineralized C-labelled bacteria in the presence of readily available alternative carbon and nitrogen sources such as glucose and ammonium sulphate. C-labelled bacteria were degraded to CO more efficiently than [C]cellulose. was able efficiently to mineralize biomass produced (>20% of total label released as CO) where label was incorporated into the microbial biomass by composting rather than added as killed bacteria. This is the first time that quantitative data have been produced to show that the microbial biomass in wheat straw/animal manure compost might be significant in the nutritional strategy of basidiomycetes.


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