Introduction: Mushrooms are neither the plants nor to animals but belong to a separate group of organisms called fungi. They are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting bodies of fungi typically produced above ground on soil or on their food sources. They lack the usual green matter present in plants and grow on dead and decaying organic materials. The mushroom fruiting body may be umbrella like or of various other shapes, size and colour. Commonly it consists of a cap or pileus and a stalk or stipe but others have additional structures like veil or annulus, a cup or volva. Mushrooms are known for their nutritive and medicinal value. The standard mushroom is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, a fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (called a stipe), a cap (called a pileus), and gills (each called a lamella/pl. lamellae) on the underside of the cap. Mushrooms can also be a wide variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems. The general properties of mushrooms are : Rich in proteins Contains less fat, less carbohydrate and salts Rich in fibre and Have high Vitamin B12 and folic acid content uncommon in vegetables High availability of lysine and tryptophan amino acids usually absent in cereals Ideal food for patients suffering from hypertension, diabetes and obesity .
The mushroom fruiting body may be umbrella like or of various other shapes, size and colour.
Classification of Mushroom Agaricus bisporus A.bisporus is one of the most common cultivated mushroom. It grows at a temperature of 14-18° C. Its cultivation is more popular in temperate areas of the world. In India, this mushroom is grown on hills all the year round and in northern plains during winter under seasonal growing conditions. It is grown on compost prepared from wheat paddy straw. Agaricus bitorquis Agaricus bitorquis is a high temperature tolerant white button mushroom. It grows at a temperature 6-80C higher than A.bisporus. It is highly resistant to viruses, tolerant to higher concentration of CO2 in the cropping room and has superior shelf life. Cultivation technique is same as that of A.bisporus. Pleurotus spp (Oyster Mushroom Cultivation) The cultivation technology of this type of mushroom is different from button mushroom. In case of oyster mushroom cultivation, there is no need of composting of substrate. It grows directly on various agro-waste by making them free from germs with the help of physical / chemical treatments. Different types of cultivation systems are existing at different places such as : bag cultivation system, cylindrical block system, pressed block system etc. Black ear mushroom(Auricularia spp.) The black year mushroom can be grown on wheat or paddy straw. Fruiting of this mushroor occurs at 25°C and 85-95% RH. Average yield of this mushroom is 800-1200g fresh mushroom per kg of dry straw. Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) This is a medicinal mushroom being cultivated at large scale in the country like China, Japan etc. NRCM has developed the cultivation technology of Shiitake mushroom. The Centre has achieved success in growing shiitake mushroom on artificial wood log made of saw dust. The technology is in its final stage. Milky mushroom (Calocybe indica) Calocybe indica was reported for the first time from India in 1974. It grows in nature on humus soil under the road side trees or in forests. Its artificial cultivation technique has been perfected and has been adopted by farmers in Tamil Nadu and Karnatka . It can be cultivated on wheat / paddy straw at temperature around 35° C. Paddy straw mushroom (Volvariella spp.) Paddy straw mushroom grows best on paddy straw. It requires a temperature of 30-35°C and 85-95% RH for fruiting. The surface of its cap is soft and smooth in texture. The colour of fully grown pileus is grayish white with a reddish tinge. Wild Types Morchella spp This is the most prized mushroom which is presently collected from the wild in high hills of J&K , H.P. and Uttaranchal and sold in the market on premium price. Most of it is exported to European countries. Extensive research is going on to domesticate this mushroom. BOLETUS It has a central stipe with fleshy cap whose lower surface is composed of a vast number of pores and fine tubules & is found in the woods. Some of these can reach a diameter of 2 ft & weigh 3 Kg and have impressive colour and texture. Most of the Boletus spp. are edible. CANTRARELLUS A very popular edible fungus which forms a funnel shaped fruit body with distinct wrinkles or ridges on the under surface. It lacks true gills and is found in damp, mossy woodlands, either in pine or deciduous. TUBER These are found in deciduous woods and have a distinctive aromatic smell and have good commercial value. The siae may vary from the size of a walnut to that of a potato. Most of them are edible. There are approximately 14,000 described species of mushrooms. Identification to species, however, requires more effort, combined with microscopic examination. The presence of juices upon breaking, bruising reactions, odors, tastes, shades of colors, and habitats and habit and season are, all considered by mycologists, amateur and professionals. Tasting and smelling mushrooms also carried. Chemical spot tests are also used for some species.
Edible Mushroom Edible mushrooms are used extensively in cooking, in many cuisines such as Chinese, European, Japanese etc. Many species of mushrooms are high in fiber, and provide vitamins such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), biotin (B7), cobalamins (B12) and ascorbic acid (C), as well as minerals, including iron, selenium, potassium and phosphorus. Mushrooms contains antioxidants Ergothioneine and Selenium. The most popular edible mushroom of these is Agaricus bisporus, which is safe for most people to eat because it is grown in controlled, sterilized environments. Several varieties of A. bisporus are grown commercially, including: whites, crimini and portabello. Other cultivated species now available at many grocers include shiitake, maitake or hen-of-the-woods, oyster and enoki. There are a number of species of mushrooms that are poisonous, and because some resemble certain edible species, eating them could be fatal. To separating edible mushrooms from poisonous species requires meticulous attention to detail as there is no single trait by which all toxic mushrooms could be identified, nor one by which all edible mushrooms could be identified. However, there is no clear-cut delimitation between edible and poisonous fungi, so that mushrooms may be edible, poisonous, or unpalatable. Poisonous (Toxic) Mushroom According to "Toxic and Hallucinogenic Mushroom Poisoning: A Handbook For Physicians and Mushroom Hunters" by Gary Lincoff and D. H. Mitchel, M.D. there are several type of mushrooms which are toxic and highly poisonous. The Primary symptoms of poisoning include: vomiting, diarrhea or both, severe sysphoria, prostration, temporary paralysis, profuse, prolonged sweating tearing salivating, severe cases may have the pulse slow, and blood pressure fall to dangerously low levels etc. one of the mushrooms say, Psilocybe baeocystis is believed to have been responsible for the death of a child. Chemical Constituents: Mushroom contains several vitamins such as thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), biotin (B7), cobalamins (B12) and ascorbic acid (C), as well as minerals, including iron, selenium, potassium and phosphorus. Mushrooms have containing antioxidants Ergothioneine and Selenium. Cultivation In India generally 3 types of mushrooms are being cultivated in India : the white mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), the paddy-straw mushroom (Volvariella vovvacea) and the oyster mushroom (Pleurotus sajor-caju). Of these, A. bisporus is the most popular and economically sound to grow and is extensively cultivated throughout the world and in the plains of Northen India in winter. In summer, the tropical paddy-straw mushroom is suitable for growing in most parts of India. Oyster mushroom can grow at moderate temperature ranging from 220 to 280C. therefore, it is suitable for most of the places of India. In India the year-wise production schedule is : Mid-November to Mid-March: Agaricus bisporus February to Mid-April: Pleurotus sajor-caju Mid-June to Mid-September: Volvariella volvacea September to November: Pleurotus sajor-caju Strains 1. Selection of Strains : For successful mushroom production it is necessary to select the best strains which should be high yielding , visually attractive, having desirable flavour, and resistance to adverse climate and pests and diseases. Presently, there are many strains of white, cream and brown varieties in cultivation. In India, S 11, S 649 and S791 are the good strains available. These strains are well adapted in the Indian climate and are very popular with the growers. 2. Maintenance of Strains: Three methods are known by which strains can be propagate: multispore culture, tissue culture and mycelium transfer. By periodic subculturing of the mycelium on a suitable agar medium, the span strains can be kept for many years in a fairly good state. Maintenence of strain by multisporous culture is only possible if new multispore cultures are compared with the original strain before the original multisporous culture would show much genetic variation. In the tissue culture, small pieces of fruit bodies are cut under sterile conditions and inoculated on a nutrient medium. Mycelium growing out of these tissue can provide the starting point for subsequent spawn production. Of these 3 methods, mycelium transfer is most reliable but it is essential that the performance of the mycelium is continually checked in order to detect any degeneration-like slow-growing matted mycelium or fluffy mycelium with abnormal growth rate. Spawn The propogating material used by the mushroom growers for planting beds is called spawn. The spawn is equivalent to vegetative seed of higher plant. Quality of spawn is basic for the successful mushroom cultivation. At present, the pure culture spawn has been the basis of modern spawn production units all over the world. The manufacture of the pure culture spawn is done under scientifically controlled conditions which demand a standard of hygiene as in a hospital operation theatre. Equipment and substrate used for spawn are autoclaved and filtered air is passed during the inocluation ensures complete freedom from contamination. ( i ) Manure spawn: Both composted horse-dung or synthetic compost may be used. The composted manure is thoroughly washed to remove such substance in compost which retard growth. The excess water is squeezed out and moisture content adjusted to 60%. The manure is packed in half-litre milk bottles or polypropylene bags of suitable size. (ii) Grain spawn: Grain spawn are prepared by wheat grains boiled in water. After cooling, the cooled grains, are mixed with calcium carbonate. the gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O) and 30 g of calcium carbonate. Other grains can also be used for spawn making. (iii) Perlite spawn: Perlite is a mineral which expands at temperature more than 10000C. The ingredients, of the spawn are : Perlite (1,450 g), wheat-bran (1,650 g), gypsum (200 g), calcium carbonate (50 g), and water (665 cc). The gredients are mixed, filled in bottles and sterlized. This spawn can be stored for a long time.
Medicinal use Many species of mushrooms and fungi utilized as folk medicines for thousands of years by ethno botanists and medical researchers. Maitake, shiitake, and reishi are prominent among those being researched for their potential anti-cancer, anti-viral, and/or immunity-enhancement properties. Psilocybin, originally an extract of certain psychedelic mushrooms, is being studied for its ability to help people suffering from mental disease, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Minute amounts have been reported to stop cluster and migraine headaches. Some species are ideal food for patients suffering from hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Other uses The chromophores of mushrooms are organic compounds and produce strong and vivid colors, and all colors of the spectrum can be achieved with mushroom dyes. Hence, they are also used for dyeing wool and other natural fibers. Before the invention of synthetic dyes the mushrooms were the primary sources on dyeing textiles. Some fungi, types of polypores, loosely called mushrooms, have been used as fire starters. Mushrooms, and other fungi, will likely play an increasingly important role in the development of effective biological remediation and filtration technologies. Economics Marketing: The key to the mushroom business is to have established buyers and be capable of consistent production. The commercial mushroom operation cost depending on whether a grower starts with an appropriate building. For the business tips for people contemplating commercial production: make the market drive your production, talk to potential buyers about volume and prices, explore various marketing options: brokers, distributors, farmers’ markets, restaurants, grocery stores, food service operations, and co-ops. Consider reselling other growers’ mushrooms to offer more variety and larger volume and talk to other producers and perhaps a consultant about production systems.
Mushroom city SOLAN is said to be the Mushroom city of India. Solan city is situated on national highway-22 is known for many 'firsts' .India's first brewery Mohan-Meakin Ltd was set-up here in 1855 AD.Asia's first horticulture and forestry university (named after Dr Y.S.Parmar) is also located here .Officially the city had been declared 'Mushroom City of India' on September 10, 1997.Besides a largest off season vegetable producer district, Solan is also a commercial district of Himachal Pradesh . FAQ Some frequently asked question on mushroom are: Q. Can mushrooms be grown in plain areas? A. Yes, mushrooms can be grown anywhere , provided the temperature and humidity requirements are kept in the required range. Q. What type of climate is suitable for mushroom cultivation? A. Mushroom is an indoor crop. The temperature at fruiting time is to be kept from 14-18 C and humidity at 85%. Q. What substrate is used for growing mushrooms? A. Mushrooms are grown on compost prepared by mixing wheat/paddy straw, chicken manure, wheat bran, urea, gypsum. The spawn is prepared on wheat grains. Q. What are the general requirements for mushroom cultivation? A. Mushroom being an indoor crop, it requires controlled conditions of temperature and humidity (temperature in the range of 14-18 C and humidity of 85%. Q. Is mushroom vegetarian or non-vegetarian? A. Mushrooms are vegetarian. Q. What are the benefits of eating mushrooms? A. Mushrooms are very nutritious, rich in proteins, fibre and have folic acid content that is uncommon in vegetables and amino acids which are usually absent in cereals. Q. What is the market potential of mushrooms? A. Mushrooms have now become popular, therefore it has a good market potential. White button mushroom can be sold in fresh or canned form and products such as pickle and soup can be made from it. Oyster mushroom can be sold in dried form also. Q. How can I get rid of mushroom flies? A. You can get rid of mushroom flies by screening doors and ventilators with nylon or wire mesh (35 or 40 mesh size), using yellow coloured light trap, and giving preventive spray of malathion or cypermethrin on walls. Q. From where can I get training regarding mushroom growing? A. You can get training regarding mushroom production technology from National Research Centre for Mushroom, Solan or State Agricultural Universities. Q. What are the products that can be made from mushrooms? A. You can make pickle, soup powder, candies, biscuits, nuggets, murabba etc. Q. Whether the government provides any financial support/subsidies for establishing mushroom units? A. NABARD, National Horticulture Board and Banks provide loans for establishment of mushroom units, spawn production units and compost making units. Q. How many types of edible mushrooms are there? A. White button mushroom, oyster mushroom, black ear mushroom, giant ushroom, milky mushroom, shiitake are some of the edible species of mushrooms which can be grown artificially. Morchella, which is collected from the high hills of HP, J&K and Uttaranchal, is also edible. Q. Do mushrooms suffer from diseases? A. Yes, mushrooms suffer from different types of diseases. Some of the major diseases of mushrooms are wet bubble, dry bubble, cob web and moulds (green, yellow, brown).
Modern Research The Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the apex body for agricultural research and education in the country, established the National Centre for Mushroom Research and Training, NCMRT (now National Research Centre for Mushroom, NRCM) at Solan, Himachal Pradesh, on the 8th June, 1983. It's main function is to carry out research, training and extension on all aspects of mushrooms in the country. NRCM has pursued these goals over the years and has been able to disseminate up-to-date information relating to different aspects of cultivation technology. Besides it has also created a general awareness among the people about mushrooms, their nutritional qualities and their potential as an income generating high value crop. To a considerable extent, these activities of the Centre have helped to motivate growers across the country to undertake the cultivation of different kinds of mushrooms at different levels ranging from kitchen garden level to export oriented units, the overall effect of which has manifested itself in almost five times increase in the total production in the country in the last 5-7 years. The Centre besides conservation and maintenance of the germplasm of edible fungi, has strengthened its activities on improving the strains and the crop husbandry practices of the button mushrooms, accelerated the programmes on diversification of species and has generated valuable information on oyster, shiitake, black ear and giant mushroom. The Centre is also regularly conducting training and extension activities. There has been a broader interaction between the scientists and mushroom growers by way of increased visits to growers farms and several off campus training programmes conducted at the Centre.