Mushroom Cultivation: Introduction, Classification, Steps, Pests and Diseases | Agriculture (2024)

In this article we will discuss about:- 1. Introduction to Mushroom Cultivation 2. Importance of Mushroom Cultivation 3. Classification 4. General Steps 5. Canning 6. Nutritional and Medicinal Aspects 7. Pests and Diseases 8. Future.


  1. Introduction to Mushroom Cultivation
  2. Importance of Mushroom Cultivation
  3. Classification of Edible Mushrooms
  4. General Steps in Mushroom
  5. Canning of Mushrooms Cultivation
  6. Nutritional and Medicinal Aspects of Mushrooms
  7. Pests and Diseases of Mushrooms
  8. Future of Mushroom Cultivation

1. Introduction to Mushroom Cultivation:

The term mushroom means in general a fungus but commonly it is the fruiting body of some fungi which produce and disseminate spores. Like all other fungi, they lack Chlorophyll and thus cannot produce their own food. They grow saprophytically or sometimes symbiotically upon other dead and living plants respectively to obtain organic matter as food.

Mushrooms are variable in size and shape. Many have cap and stalk but some varieties are devoid of stalk. Some varieties even produce fruit bodies below the ground. There are large number of species growing wild in nature, while many are edible, some are highly poisonous.

The collection of colourful and variety of shapes of mushrooms is in practice since time immemorial. Auricularia, Lentinus edodus, Agaricus bisporus and volvariella volvacea were collected in China and France and elsewhere in the world. In India they have started to cultivate mushrooms from 1943. The world production of different edible mushrooms are summarized in Table 21.1.

2. Importance of Mushroom Cultivation:

Mushrooms are popular for their delicacy and flavour. They are excellent sources of vitamins, proteins and minerals. They are good source of Vitamin ‘B’, folic acid, the blood building vitamin, useful in anaemic condition.

They also contain pantothenic acid, vitamin B-12, ascorbic acid and the precursor of vitamin A and D. They are also good source of phosphorus, potassium, and iron, copper, contain all essential amino acids particularly L-lysine and L-tryptophan. Mushrooms contain least quantity of carbohydrates as well as fats, hence very valuable diet for those suffering from diabetes and heart problems.

They also contain compounds capable of preventing heart attack, diabetes, and cancer, infections due to bacteria, fungi, viruses and protozoa. Edible mushrooms have been recommended by the FAO as food, contributing to the protein nutrition of the developing countries depends largely on cereals. Mushrooms are useful in treating many human ailments.

With increasing population, food demand problems in developing and under developed countries, mushrooms can play an important role to enrich human diet particularly in India where a large section of the population are vegetarians. It is an ideal means of recycling agro-wastes which are available abundantly.

The spent compost from mushroom farms is a good organic manure and a better substrate for bio-gas production. It is a labour intensive indoor activity which, help the landless, small and marginal farmers to raise their income, diverse economic activity, can create gainful employment, especially for the unemployed/underemployed youth, weaker sections of the society and women.

Our country has resources, potential for large scale production of mushrooms both for domestic consumption and export. These are cultivated all over the world. Though mushroom cultivation is known from time immemorial its cultivation in India started in 1943 when Volvariella voilvacea was cultivated at Coimbatore, Agaricus bisporus and Pleurorus sojar caju were cultivated in 1966 and 1970 respectively.

In spite of it, mushroom cultivation in India is only 0.09% of world production. However, Indian Govt., has recognized the importance of mushrooms under changed conditions and established a national research centre at Solan, Himachal Pradesh where an intensive research have been carried out on different aspects of mushrooms, their cultivation to motivate people of India for the use of mushroom as a part of their diet.

3. Classification of Edible Mushrooms:

Edible mushrooms are classified according to taxonomic position as well as their natural habitat. The taxonomy of mushrooms is a fascinating field, both morphological characters of fruit body, spore production and spore color proved to be useful. The spore print which can be obtained by placing cut fruit body on white paper are covered with a beljar for overnight.

The next day one can get spore print which reveals spore colour and arrangement of gills. These help in the identification of genus (Fig. 21.1). The shape and attachment of basidiocarp to the stipe in the identification of mushroom is also useful (Fig. 21.2).

Mushrooms are classified on the basis of natural habitat as precised here:

Similarly mushrooms are classified on the basis of taxonomic position as detailed below:

4. General Steps in Mushroom Cultivation:

(i) Pure Culture:

Mushroom cultivation is carried out in the following manner. The selection of quality mushroom is an important aspect. It must have good quality in respect of growth conditions, taste, aroma, fruiting characters, disease and pests resistant along with long preservation quality. The mushroom cultivation is carried out partly in laboratory under aseptic conditions and other in mushroom house.

(ii) Spawn Production:

Good spawn production from monosporeculture is one of the methods of production. It should be fresh, fast growing, free from insects, moulds and mites.

(iii) Preparation of Substrate/Beds:

Preparation of bed is another event. Substrate preparation varies with the mushroom. Either short term period or long term period of substrate preparation can be adapted. Finally it should be decomposed and support the growth of mushroom as well.

(iv) Spawning and Spawn Running:

Healthy spawn should be spread on the bed in any one of the methods of spawning and allowed to grow. Sufficient moisture has to be maintained.

(v) Cropping:

Once budding appears, one should be ready to harvest. The bud grows to full fledge mushroom and just bloomed should be harvested. Care should be taken not to break mushroom mycelium.

(vi) Canning:

Mushrooms as far as possible are to be consumed freshly. If needed, they may be stored for a few days after canning as detailed in latter part.

The details of each stage is depicted in Fig. 21.3.


Canning of Mushrooms:

Mushrooms have a good taste when cooked fresh. However, canning is required when consumers are located in far off places.

Following steps are involved in canning process or procedure:

1. Pre-Cleaning – Mushrooms are cleaned to remove foreign particles, soil etc.

2. Washing – Mushrooms are washed in water.

3. Blanching – Mushrooms are blanched in hot water having 0.2% citric acid for 3-5 minutes. This process results in loss of 30% weight.

4. Cooling – Blanched mushrooms are cooled through continuous counter flow cooling system.

5. Grading – Mushrooms are graded according to size.

6. Slicing – Mushrooms are sliced for the required size.

7. Filling – The cans are filled and weighed.

8. Brining and Exhausting – Hot brine solution (salt 2%+sugar 2%+citric acid 0.3%) is added and temperature is raised to 80°C in the centre of can to exhaust.

9. Can Sealing – Cans are sealed with lid.

10. Retorting – The sealed cans are sterilized at 15 PSI for 15-20 minutes.

11. Labelling and Packing – The cans are labeled and packed in cartons. Different sizes of cans are used as per requirements.

6. Nutritional and Medicinal Aspects of Mushrooms:

Mushrooms, rich in nutrients, are being used as nutraceuticals. They are considered to provide strength to warriors in battles as believed by Greeks, while Chinese feel that they are health food and treat them as elixir of life. Romans consider them as God given food, while pharha, European tribes, considers them as food of delicacy.

Mexican Indians eat them during festive occasion as hallucinogens. They are food of fibrous nature, low in fat, rich in proteins, vitamins, this food preferred for diabetes and heart patients. Similarly mushrooms are rich in all essential vitamins and contains full complement of mineral composition (Table 21.4).

The nutritive value is superior to egg, meat and pulses. In nutritional index (NA) it stands 4th, while in essential amino acid index (EAI) and protein efficiency ratio (PER) it stands third. Thus these mushrooms proved to be quality food. They are also reported to have medicinal value and used in the treatment of human ailments (Table 21.5).

The following recipes such as mushroom puree, mushroom paneer, and mushroom pulaw mushroom omlette and mushroom soup which are for delicacy and tasty are made. They are also rich in different nutrients.

7. Pests and Diseases of Mushrooms:

1. Pests:

Different insects and nematodes grow on mushroom bed and will be responsible for yield loss. Even rats eat away fruit bodies along with grains and other things causing yield loss.

(A) Insects:

(i) Spring tails – Lepidocystus cyaneus

(ii) Sciarid flies – Lycoriella solani

(iii) Phorid flies – Megasella halterata

(iv) Coccids – Heteropeza phagmae

Mycophila brunnesi

(v) Mites – Rhizoglyphus phylloxerae

(B) Nematodes:

(i) Dactylenthus myceliophagus affect mycelial growth

(C) Rats:

(i) Damage the beds and eat grain spawn

(D) Control Measures of Pests:

(1) Maintain cleanliness

(2) Prevent compost and straw from coming in contact with soil

(3) Treat the tools with 2% formalin

(4) Spray dichlorovas (Nuvan) at the rate of 0.6 ml/litre

(5) Spray Dicofeel (0.01%) to control mites

(6) Baiting and killing rats.

2. Diseases:

Different parasites grow on growing mushrooms in beds, cause characteristic diseases and responsible for considerable loss to fruit bodies harvest.

(A) Fungal Diseases:

(i) Dry bubble – Verticillium malthousia

(ii) Wet bubble – Mycogone penniciosa

(B) Bacterial Diseases:

(i) Bacterial pit – Pseudomonas sp

(ii) Bacterial brown blotch – Pseudomonas tolassii

(C) Viral Diseases:

(i) Elongated bend stipes – seven types of viral particals

(ii) Disintegration of mycelium

3. Weed Moulds and Competitors:

The following moulds grow on growing mushrooms and will be responsible for yield loss:

(i) FALSE TRUFFLES – Deihliomyces microsporus

(ii) WHITE PLASTER MOULD – Scopulariopsis fimicola

(iii) INK CAP – Coprinus sp

8. Future of Mushroom Cultivation


Increasing awareness of nutritive and medicinal value of mushroom, a boost in cultivation of mushrooms resulted in mass scale. Cultivation of mushrooms helps to convert agro-wastes into human food. Their cultivation provides labour employment as they are fast growing and are responsible for production of quality food. Mushrooms represent untapped source of nutraceuticals and valuable palatable food.

Substrate/compost preparation with special reference to fermentation, collection of strains of mushrooms from different geographical regions and their evaluation use in breeding work. Breeding for high yielding strains of species will be of immense value of Agarics, Pleurotus, other promising mushroom for both cold and hot climate is of an urgent need. Improvements in prolongation of shelf life and canning and processing will also boost the prospects of mushroom cultivation.

However, lack of awareness, shelf life maintenance of pure culture, unpredictable yield, shorter shelf life are some of the limitations in mushroom industry. Indifference of academicians, Govt., and institutions adds to the constraints of mushroom cultivation. Developing sporeless or low spore shedding Pleurtus and other mushrooms with desired traits will also help the mushroom industry.

The methods of cultivation and other associated problems in cultivation of untapped mushrooms such as Amamita, Agrocybe, Armillaria, Boletus, Cantherellas, Lactarius, Lepiota, Marasmius, Morchella, Peziza, Hydnum, Psalliota, Rhodopaxillus, Russula and Termitomyces should be taken up for cultivation as well as nutritive quality determination. Protoplast fusion technique in developing quality mushroom is also need of the hour.

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Mushroom Cultivation: Introduction, Classification, Steps, Pests and Diseases | Agriculture (2024)


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