Mushroom Culture

Mushrooms belong to Class Basidiomycotin of kingdom fungi. These are basically heterdraphic organisms, the mycelium of which thrives on waste material containing cellulose and pectic material.
 
 
Mushroom Culture
Mushroom culture is one of the simplest applications of Biotechnology. Mushrooms are of fungal origin and it now has universal focus and importance because of its nutrition value and therapeutic values which can be used for the remedy of various diseases and disorders. About 2500 varieties of mushrooms are available out of which about 200 are edible and 12 varieties are commercially produced in India. Due to its commercial viability and scientific importance, studying and learning mushroom culture has become very important and interesting in our country. In addition this activity can generate self employment opportunities in urban and rural areas.

Importance of mushrooms
Mushrooms belong to Class Basidiomycotin of kingdom fungi. These are basically heterdraphic organisms, the mycelium of which thrives on waste material containing cellulose and pectic material.

The activities of mycelium during its course of life produces fruiting bodies which are mushrooms which are rich in protein, carbohydrates, lipids, minerals and vitamins and certain biochemical's and antibiotics.

Mushrooms are in demand because of rich nutrition and biochemical's that they contain which are helpful to cure diseases like malnutrition, cardiac disorders, diabetes, cancers, ulcers and other ailments like heavy alcoholism etc. because of its high protein content and high absorbility they are used as health supplements.
 
Simplicity of Mushroom Culture
Mushroom culture is a two step process.

1. Spawn Production: The preparation of commercial inoculum for cultivation of mushrooms is called a spawn which in simple terms means the seeds. This process of spawn production takes place in a laboratory. Under this process the pure cultures of fungal mycelium of chosen strains are raised in suitable media either by tissue culture or spore culture. Then with this pure / mother culture, starter cultures are produced which leads to the final production of spawn culture at a commercial level.


2. Cultivation of Mushrooms: There are different methods of mushroom cultivation depending on the type of mushroom that is to be cultivated. The cultivation is done on agro waste or compost material; again the species of mushroom plays are very important role. This can be done in closed rooms, huts or cottages where temperature, humidity and hygiene can be tained at the optimum level.
 
Why should students of Biotechnology and Microbiology learn Mushroom Culture?
In this world of globalization and return of natural ingredients in food, medicine and fuel, mushroom has attained a very significant place. The students can gain in the following ways if they learn this technique:

1. Self employment and business generation: after learning this technique the students can get advantage in three forms.
  • They may be employed by mushroom companies in the private sector which produce spawns or mushrooms.
  • They can start their own spawn production labs and supply spawns.
  • The easiest thing is to start their own mushroom production unit which does not take a lot of investment and increases their self esteem.
2. Research and development: Continuous research is required in the field of mushrooms because they are very rich in nutritional value and help in the cure of many terminal diseases. Research is being carried out at many government and private labs where students can easily get employed. Students can also establish their own labs and look at more avenues which may be explored in the field of mushrooms.