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[EBOOK] Training Manual on Mushroom Cultivation Technology

1.    Inadequate regional food supplies, diminishing quality of health, and increasing environmental deterioration are three key underlying problems affecting the future well-being of humankind. The magnitude of these problems is set to increase as the world’s population continues to grow. The three facets of Applied Mushroom Biology combined offer partial but meaningful solutions through (1) the generation of relatively cheap source of high quality food protein (Mushroom Science), (2) the provision of health-enhancing dietary supplements/ mushroom nutriceuticals (Mushroom Biotechnology), and (3) the bioconversion/bioremediation of environmental adulterants and maintenance of balanced ecosystems (Mushroom Mycorestoration).

2.    Mushrooms are very nutritious products that can be generated from lignocellulosic waste materials; and are in rich in crude fibre and protein. In fact, mushrooms also contain low fat, low calories and good vitamins. In addition, many mushrooms possess multi-functional medicinal properties.

3.    Mushroom cultivation technology is friendly to the environment. The production of edible and medicinal mushrooms utilising, for example, paddy straw, cotton wastes, coffee waste, water hyacinth, tree saw dust, sugar cane bagasse, wild grasses and various categories of refuse and lignocellulosic wastes, could readily be adopted in Asian and Pacific communities in sophisticated, but low technology approaches.

4.    The spent substrate left after harvesting the mushrooms, which is entangled with innumerable mushroom threads (collectively referred to as mycelia) will have been biochemically modified by the mushroom enzymes into a simpler and more readily digestible form, which is thus more palatable to livestock, when used as a livestock feed supplement. Additionally, it will significantly have been enriched with protein, by virtue of the remains of the protein-rich mycelia, left after harvesting the mushroom fruiting bodies. The residue could also be utilised as organic garden mulch, which is good for the soil.

5.    Mushroom mycelia can produce a group of complex extracellular enzymes which can degrade and utilize the lignocellulosic wastes in order to reduce pollution. It has been revealed recently that mushroom mycelia can play a significant role in the restoration of damaged environments. Saprotrophic, endophytic, mycorrhizal, and even parasitic fungi/mushrooms can be used in mycorestoration, which can be performed in four different ways: mycofiltration (using mycelia to filter water), mycoforestry (using mycelia to restore forests), mycoremediation (using mycelia to eliminate toxic waste), and mycopesticides (using mycelia to control insect pests). These methods represent the potential to create a clean ecosystem, where no damage will be left after fungal implementation.

6.    The key objectives in each of the participating countries will be, firstly, to develop Pleurotus (oyster) mushrooms as additional, highly nutritious vegetable crops. We should start with these because they are easiest to grow; yet they are also high in protein. Secondly, efforts will be directed towards cultivating Lentinula mushrooms, which require less complicated and costly set-up and equipment (eg. compared with Agaricus mushrooms). Thirdly, efforts will be made to produce selected medicinal mushrooms as dietary supplements, especially mushrooms which are known to have a strong potency in invigorating the body’s immuno-response systems, such as Ganoderma lucidum.

7.    A comprehensive training programme for both researchers and mushroom growers will need to be formulated. The identified team of researchers will be brought together for an intensive training course, which will equip them with more skills on how to train others, and also help prepare them on how to succeed in this promising venture. Mushroom farming is both a science and an art. The science, in its broad form, will come through training workshops/courses. The art will come through practical involvement and experience, and will have to be modified in accordance with the prevailing conditions on site.

8.    The potential of mushroom farming in generating new employment opportunities is another positive element emanating from mushroom farming ventures, which can be labour intensive. Phase one of this project will aim at providing initial skills for cottage level mushroom production. Later, large scale development can be expected to lead to the establishment of commercial mushroom farms, and international marketing ventures. It is anticipated that Governments of the countries where Phase One of Project implementation will be based, will grant their political good-will, which will be a positive stimulus for private sector involvement.

9.    Due to advances in both basic knowledge and practical technology relevant to mushroom farming (mushroom themselves), mushroom products (mushroom derivatives) and mushroom bioremediation (mushroom mycelia), these principles can be applied globally, but must be implemented according to locally available substrates, labour and climatic conditions.

[EBOOK] Training Manual on Mushroom Cultivation Technology

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