Mushrooms belong to a separate group of organisms called Fungi. They lack the green matter (chrolophyll) present in plants and grow on dead and decaying organic materials. From these decaying substrates, they absorb their nutrition with the help of very fine thread like structures (mycelium) which penetrate into the substratum and are generally not visible on the surface. After the mycelium has grown profusely and absorbed sufficient food materials, it forms the reproductive structure which generally comes out of the substrate and forms fruiting body, commonly known as mushroom. 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 may have additional structures like a veil or annulus, a cup or volva, performing various functions in the life-cycle of the fungus.
Mushrooms have been devoured as food by mankind since time immemorial after collecting from the forests. However, mushrooms could not be domesticated due to their complex nature. Though Chinese were the first to do the artificial cultivation of the tropical and subtropical mushrooms about thousand years ago real commercial ventures started when Europeans started cultivation of button mushroom in green houses and caves during 16th and 17th century. The success to isolate pure culture through tissues and spores was the turning point in the process of commercial mushroom production in world. Mushrooms are now getting significant importance due to their nutritive and medicinal values and income generating venture in about 100 countries.
Mushroom being an indoor crop does not require arable land, except for some non-agricultural land to build the infrastructure for preparation of substrate, rising of crop, preparation of spawn and postharvest handling. White button mushrooms in India is grown seasonally and in environment controlled cropping houses and both require building of basic infrastructure. Seasonal growing is done for 5-6 months when outside temperatures are favourable for the crop, i.e., during winter months in N.W. plains and from September to April in the hills.
Health Benefits of Button Mushroom :
- Weight management: One study found that substituting red meat with white button mushrooms can help enhance weight loss. Obese participants with a mean age of just over 48 years ate approximately one cup of mushrooms per day in place of meat. The control group ate a standard diet without mushrooms.
At the end of the 12-month trial, the intervention group had lost an average of 3.6 percent of their starting weight, or about seven pounds. They also showed improvements in body composition, such as reduced waist circumference, and ability to maintain their weight loss, compared to the control group.
- Improved nutrition: One dietary analysis found that mushroom consumption was associated with better diet quality and improved nutrition.
- Increasing vitamin D levels through your diet: Consuming dried white button mushroom extract was found to be as effective as taking supplemental vitamin D2 or D3 for increasing vitamin D levels (25-hydroxyvitamin D).
- Improved immune system function: Long chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha and beta glucan molecules, are primarily responsible for the mushrooms’ beneficial effect on your immune system. In one study, adding one or two servings of dried shiitake mushrooms was found to have a beneficial, modulating effect on immune system function. Another study done on mice found that white button mushrooms enhanced the adaptive immunity response to salmonella.
These Are Also Helpful in some other benefits which are as follow:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Renal failure
- Stroke damage
Adding Mushrooms Is a Simple Way to Boost Your Health Through Your Diet
With all the evidence supporting mushrooms as little powerhouses of potent nutrition, I highly recommend adding some to your diet. They’re an excellent addition to any salad and go great with all kinds of meat and fish. “Let food be thy medicine” is good advice indeed, and with mushrooms that is especially true, as they contain some of the most powerful natural medicines on the planet.
Just make sure they’re organically grown in order to avoid harmful contaminants that mushrooms absorb and concentrate from soil, air and water. Also, avoid picking mushrooms in the wild unless you are absolutely sure you know what you’re picking. There are a number of toxic mushrooms, and it’s easy to get them confused unless you have a lot of experience and know what to look for. Growing your own is an excellent option and a far safer alternative to picking wild mushrooms.
Recommendations for Mushroom Supplements
When it comes to mushroom supplements, there are two primary types:
- Mushroom concentrates or extracts — Most of these are so-called hot water extracts, where either the mushroom mycelia — the fruit body — is boiled for extended periods of time to extract the long chain polysaccharides. The end product is a concentrated form of glyconutrients (complex sugars) thought to be responsible for many of the health benefits of the mushroom.
- Whole food/raw mushrooms — Consuming the mushrooms raw or using a whole food mushroom (powdered pill) product is generally a better alternative if you’re reasonably healthy and looking to maintain optimal health, as they help maintain ideal function of your various systems as opposed to imparting a direct effect. Most of the knowledge about mushrooms come from ancient Chinese medicine where mushrooms are regarded as tonics. Tonics are considered to have non-specific beneficial effects across several systems of your body that do not decline over time.
As mentioned earlier, if you choose to eat your mushrooms raw, make sure they are organically grown, as their flesh easily absorbs air and soil contaminants. Likewise, you’ll want to make sure any product you buy is certified organic for the same reason. In addition to valuable nutrients, whole mushrooms also provide healthful dietary fiber that acts as prebiotic platforms for the growth of probiotic organisms in your gut, which is very important for digestive health. This is yet another reason to opt for a whole food mushroom product.
Growing Of Mushroom In Your Place :
Components of a Mushroom Farm
Low cost Thatched Huts / Mushroom growing Houses
For spawn run air temperature of 23° ± 1C is maintained in the room, with corresponding bed temperature of 24-25°C (1-2°C higher than air temperature). The fresh air valve is closed and entire air is re-circulated, allowing the carbon dioxide to accumulate to the level of 15000 ppm, desirable for quick spawn run. Higher concentration of CO2 accelerates the spawn run/vegetative growth of the mushroom fungus. During spawn run above temperature has to be maintained, till entire compost is impregnated with the mushroom mycelium, alongwith other parameters like high CO2 concentration, high RH (will be discussed later). Increase or decrease in temperature effects the CO2 production of the compost and the RH of the room. With increase in temperature, RH will tend to fall, and with decrease in tempt. RH will increase. The properly insulated room will ensure uniform temperature in the cropping room at every stage of crop growth. The air will go into the room at the will of the grower and as per requirement inside, suiting the crop stage. The heat from the cropping room is removed via cooling coils in the AHU.
The environmental conditions suitable for spawn run, are suitable for case run as well. The same conditions will be provided for 7 days for case run, as for spawn run, i.e., temperature of 23°C in the air and 24°C in the bed. The RH/CO2 will be same as required for spawn run. Within one week the case run will be completed, and case run is completed the moment the mycelium is observed in the valleys. Valleys are areas between the peaks as can be seen on top of casing. Casing is applied uniformly and the material used should not be a finely ground casing soil but in the form of small clods, which form valleys/peaks on surface of casing. The CO2 conc. and RH should also be within the optimum range for effective/quick case run.
After completion of case run, the cooling of the room is enhanced to bring the air tempt down to 15-17°C in the room within 2-3 days time. Simultaneously, the fresh air vent is opened to 30% and rest of the air is re-circulated (70%). This brings down the CO2 conc. in the room to 300 ppm to 1000 ppm, desired for pinhead formation. Likewise, the RH is also reduced to 85% from 95%. This facilitates pinhead formation on the casing within a week’s time. The pinheads grow into full button sized mushrooms in another 3-4 days. The environment parameters are maintained as above during entire period of cropping. Temperature has influence on RH and CO2 conc. and hence should be maintained/manipulated, keeping in mind its effect on other two factors. All the three parameters work in synergy with each other to induce pinning on casing surface.
Mushrooms are harvested by gently holding a mushroom body and twisting it. Washing becomes necessary to remove soil particles if non-peat casing soil is used but washed mushrooms generally deteriorate rapidly than mushrooms packed dry, due to the increased water content that results in greater growth rate of spoilage by bacteria. Small growers wash in solution of reducing agents to retard the browning caused by polyphenoloxidase.
Sun-drying of mushrooms is one of the simplest and oldest methods followed by the growers from the time immemorial. Due to the difficulties in drying of some of the mushrooms, new preservation technologies like cabinet drying, canning, pickling, freeze-drying and irradiation treatment of mushrooms have developed to improve the shelf life and consumption of mushrooms. A variety of products are being prepared from mushrooms. These are mushroom pickle, mushroom powder for preparing mushroom soup, mushroom sauce, mushroom candy etc. Farmers can prepare these products when there is surplus.