Mushroom: a bird’s eye view

Mushrooms have been object of fascination to human beings since time immemorial because of their sudden appearance along with rapidity of growth. They have intrigued us for centuries, have become part of our culture, delight us with their flavours, aromas, and therapeutic properties and also some of them frighten us due to its poisonous nature because of the presence of toxins. Presently mushrooms are among the most popular, non-conventional food accepted the world over and the increased consumer demand over the years has led to quantum jump in its production.

Mushroom is a group of fungi endowed with ability to convert inedible organic wastes into palatable food. Because of its pleasant flavour and protein it is a source of human food which can satisfy the basic human requirement for better nutrition. The therapeutic value of mushrooms is relatively untapped. Besides, the substrates on which mushroom grow are lignocellulosic wastes occur in agricultural, forestry, fruit and vegetable wastes and are found in plenty. The role of mushroom in bioconversion, biodegradation and in bioremediation has increasingly being realized in recent years. They are proving as an effective and important tool for replenishment of earth’s overburdened ecosphere.

Mushroom biotechnology offer ample opportunities to convert these wastes as a vast renewable resource to meet the growing demand of food, fodder, fertilizer and energy and increase the efforts to recycle them. It is also consistent with the emerging view that ecologically oriented society must use its resources rather than discarding them as useless materials.