The cultivation of mushrooms and other fungi is called Fungiculture.  Mushroom farming is one of the most profitable agri-business with low investment and less space. Mushroom cultivation in India is growing gradually as an alternative source of income for many people. US, China, Italy, and the Netherlands are the top producers of mushrooms, globally. In India, commercial mushroom farming started recently, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka Andhra Pradesh is a major mushroom producing state. Uttar Pradesh is the leading producer of mushrooms followed by Tripura and Kerala.

Mushroom Cultivation History 

The first mushroom, “Auricularia auricula,” was cultivated about 600 A.D. Later, around 800-900A. D. “Flammulina velutipes” were cultivated in China.

Types of Mushrooms

There are various types of edible mushrooms available globally, but mostly four types of mushrooms are cultivated in India. 

1. White Button Mushroom

2. Portobello Mushroom

3. Dhingra (Oyster) Mushroom

4. Paddy Straw Mushroom

Mushrooms are grown in special beds known as compost beds. The White Button mushroom, oyster mushroom & paddy straw mushrooms are the three major types used for cultivation in India. Regarding production, the White button mushroom comes a first place in the world. The favorable season for mushroom cultivation is October to march, in India. Paddy straw mushrooms can grow in temperatures ranging from 35 – 40 Degree Celsius. Oyster mushrooms on the other hand are grown in the northern plains while button mushrooms grow during the winter season. All these mushrooms are grown by different methods and techniques.

The cultivation procedure has five main steps.

1. Mushroom Spawn:

The mushroom growing process starts from Spawn preparation. Spawn is planting material for mushroom cultivation. That is, it is a seed of a mushroom. The mushroom spawn preparation required greater technical skill & investment; mostly, mushroom spawn produces large institutes. Spawn should be good in quality. It should be rapidly growing in the compost, provide early pruning following casing, high yielding.

2. Preparing compost:

Compost is an artificially prepared growth medium from which mushrooms can derive essential nutrients necessary for growth.

Methods for compost preparation:

(i) Longer Method:

This is an outdoor procedure and takes around 28 days in its conclusion with seven turnings. Before creating compost, the mixture of wheat straw or paddy straw is placed for 1-2 days (24-48 hours) on the floor and spray water several times a day with a fixed time interval. Material required for long method are, wheat straw(300kg), wheat barn(15kg), calcium ammonium nitrate(9kg), urea(4kg), Muriate of potash(3kg), superphosphate(3kg), gypsum(20kg). The longer method of composting produces 14-18 kg mushrooms.

(ii) Short Method:

The compost made by the short method is suitable for high- yielding mushroom production. The short Method takes less time to prepare compost than the longer method but requires more capital and resources.  In the short method, there is very little chance of infections. Material required for short method are, wheat straw(1000kg), chicken manure(600kg), wheat bran(60kg), urea(15kg), gypsum(50kg). The longer method of composting produces 18-20 kg mushrooms.

3. Spawning of mulch:

The seeds are a mix of compost. Before seeding, wash the utensils used in seeding and seeding in a 2% formalin solution and wash the hands of the person working in the seedling with soap to avoid any infection. After this, add seed to 0.5 to 0.75 percent, that is, 100 kg G 500-750 grams of seeds are sufficient for ready compost.

4.Casing of soil:

The importance of casing soil would be to keep the moisture content and exchange of pollutants inside the top layer of the compost, which assists in the correct development of the mycelium. The pH of this casing soil should be 7.5-7.8 and have to be free of any disease.should be 7.5-7.8 and have to be free of any disease. The casing soil is stacked on the cemented ground and can be treated with a 4% formalin solution. The ground’s covered with polythene sheet for 3-4 days. Pasteurization of shell soil at 65-degree Celsius for 6-8 hours is shown to be a lot more successful.  Formalin solution (0.5%) is subsequently being sprayed. Appropriate ventilation ought to be organized together with water being sprayed a couple of times every day.

5. Harvesting:

Mushroom Pinhead initiation starts after 10-12 days, and the mushroom crop is harvested in 50-60 days. Harvest Mushrooms by light twisting without bothering the casing soil and when the harvesting is finished, fill the gap on beds with fresh, sterilized casing material and spray water. The crop should be harvested before the gills available because this might diminish its quality and market worth.

Nutritional value of Mushrooms:

1.Mushrooms are recommended as a healthy food by the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation)

2.Mushrooms are low in cholesterol; it’s has more protein than fruits and vegetables.

3.Apart from their protein content, mushrooms can also be high in certain vitamins like B, C, vitamin D, riboflavin, thiamine nicotinic acid.

4.These are an excellent source of iron, potassium, and potassium along with folic acid, a component known for improving blood and avoidance deficiencies.