Mushroom is a macrofungus with a distinctive fruiting body, which can be either epigeous or hypogeous. Mushrooms can be basidiomycetes as well as ascomycetes. The most common type of mushrooms is umbrella shaped with a pileus (cap) and a stipe (stem) i.e. Lentinula edodes. Other species additionally have a volva (cup) i.e. Volvariella volvacea or an annulus (ring) i.e. Agarius campestris or with both of them i.e. Amanita muscaria. Furthermore, some mushrooms are in the form of pliable cups; others round like golf balls. Some are in the shape of small clubs; some resemble coral; others are yellow or orange jelly-like globs; and some even very much resembles the human ear. However, originally, the word "mushroom" was used for the edible members of macrofungi and "toadstools" for poisonous ones of the "gill" macrofungi. Scientifically the term "toadstool" has no meaning at all and it has been proposed that the term is dropped altogether in order to avoid confusion and the terms edible, medicinal and poisonous mushrooms are used. Mushroom cultivation has great scope in China, India and in some of other developing countries because of the cheap and easily available raw materials needed for this activity, coupled with faster means of communication and marketing (as a fresh commodity), and better purchasing power of the people.
The advantages of mushroom cultivation can be summarized as:
1. Wastes such as cereal straws are largely burnt by the farmers are used as raw materials that can actually be used for the cultivation of mushrooms to reduce environmental pollution.
2. Mushroom cultivation can be a labor intensive activity to generate employment, particularly for rural women and youths in order to raise their social status. It will also provide additional work for the farmers during winter months when the farming schedule is light.
3. It will provide the people with an additional vegetable of high quality enriched the diet with high quality proteins, minerals and vitamins which can be of direct benefit to the human health and fitness. The extractable bioactive compounds from medicinal mushrooms would enhance human's immune systems and improve their quality of life.
4. Mushroom cultivation is a cash crop. The harvested fruiting bodies can be sold in local markets for additional family income or exported for an important source of foreign exchange that will definitely improve the economic standards of the people.
5. Some warm mushrooms, e.g. Volvariella volvacea (Straw mushrooms) and Pleurotus sajor-caju (Oyster mushrooms) are relatively fast growing organisms and can be harvested in 3 to 4 weeks after spawning. Mushrooms with other fungi are something special in the living world, being neither plants nor animals. They have been placed in a kingdom of their own called the kingdom of Myceteae.
About Author / Additional Info:
Author name and address:
Dr. Kirti Rani Sharma,
Assistant Professor (II),
Amity Institute of Biotechnology,
Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Noida
Sec-125, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Noida-201303 (UP), India.
Email ID: firstname.lastname@example.org, Kirtisharma2k@rediffmail.com