In the cultivation of shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes), the farmer needs to know the time needed to water in order to adjust the water content of the logs. To study the enhanced water uptake in the longitudinal direction by shiitake mycelium in shiitake cultivation logs, six dried test logs (Quercus serrata, diameter of 38 to 48 mm, length of 110 to 118 mm) were used. Three test logs had shiitake mycelium grown on them, and the remaining three test logs had mold generated on them. Liquid water was supplied to the bottom surface of the test log which had its longitudinal direction along the line of gravity. Water content distribution in the logs was measured in chronological order using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with 1 Tesla. The calibration curve for converting the signal intensity of the MR image into the water content in the test log was determined by cutting the test log at 5-mm intervals and measuring the water content distribution using the mass method. Spatial distribution of the water content of the test log without shiitake mycelium depending on the cumulative water supply time was obtained, and the distribution shape was always concave corresponding to the exact solution of an unsteady one-dimensional diffusion equation with one diffusion coefficient. In the case of the test log in which shiitake mycelium grew, within a few hours after liquid water supply the water content increased in the whole region where shiitake mycelium grew, and the shape of the water content distribution in the longitudinal direction became convex. Based on observation of water penetration into logs by MRI and an optical microscope, it is believed that the driving force behind increased rise in liquid water in the longitudinal direction in the test log is the capillary force acting in vessels.
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