Common edible mushroom was first cultivated in Germany during World War II. Chinese began to use Mushroom much before that, over 3000 years ago. China produces over 4 Lakh tons of mushroom ever year and accounts for 64% of world’s production. China also produces over 85% of worlds Oyster mushroom.Mushrooms have been linked to the vitality, high energy and dynamism of the Chinese people.
Mushroom plays a varied and important roles in human nutrition and health. They are rich in sources of free energy particularly proteins. Many mushrooms have the ability to detoxify the contaminated environment in a process called bio-remediation. The mycelial network of mushrooms acts as mycrofilters. Many Varieties of mushrooms are known to have excellent medicinal properties like immune enhancers, anti-cancerous, diet remedy for diabetics etc..
The development of commercial home made packages for the indoor cultivation of edible species like oyster and milky mushrooms have paved a new concept of producing protein from waste materials. Edible mushroom cultivation can be taken up as an important income generating venture. This technology can also address the unemployment problem of rural population and if done professionally and scientifically can be developed into a rural agro industry, especially through its health oriented value added products.
Oyster mushroom contains 2.8% lovastatin – a drug used to lower cholesterol thereby preventing cardio vascular diseases . It also helps fight cancers by inhibiting tumor growth, helps reduce hypertension, obesity and diabetes. It is a rich fatfree source of fiber. It helps to develop a strong immune system. Keeps a person energetic and active throughout a day. Mushroom cultivation helps to keep the environment hygiene.
The Spare mushroom substrate (SMS) left after mushroom cultivation can be convereted into nutrient rich organic manure through vermicomposting, which not only helps in maintaining good soil health but can also be a source of additional income. Utilisation of mushroom farming is the most eco-friendly and efficient ways of degrading manu Lignocellulosic wastes. The lignin rich wastes like coir fiber which is a major pollutant due to very slow natural degradation can be converted into nutrient rich organic manure within 1-2 months using the mushroom fungus pleurotus sajor-caju.
Mushroom cultivation is a sustainable, eco friendly technology highly suitable for rural as well as urban areas due to the availability of large amount of cheap agricultural waste. Mushroom fungi can also have industrial application in enzyme production. Mushoom culitvation can be done without soil/land in a limited space. The earnings compared to cultivation of vegetables using valuable land is much much higher in mushroom cultivation,which is done in a limited space. This could be done in our home compound or even within the home itself. The unemployed youth, housewifes and even aged people could do it without much physical exertion and earn good income.