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Mushroom cultivation is a technology of growing mushrooms using plant, animal and industrial waste. In short it is wealth out of waste technology. This technology has gained importance worldwide because of its dietary fibres and proteins value. Mushroom is a fungi belonging to basidiomycetes. It is rich in proteins, fibres, vitamins and minerals. There are more than 3000 types of mushrooms. e.g. Button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus sps.), Paddy straw mushroom (Volvariella volvacea). The cultivation takes one to three months. Major stages of mushroom cultivation are explained below.
Compost is prepared by mixing paddy straw with number of organic materials like cow dung and inorganic fertilizers. It is kept at about 50oC for one week.
Spawn is the mushroom seed. It is prepared by growing fungal mycelium in grains under sterile conditions. Spawn is sown on compost.
Compost is covered with a thin layer of soil. It gives support to the growing mushroom, provides humidity and helps regulate the temperature.
Mycelium starts to form little bud, which will develop into mushroom. Those little white buds are called pins.
Mushroom grow better in 15oC - 23oC. They grow 3 cm in a week which is the normal size for harvesting. In the third week the first flush mushroom can be harvested.
Discolouration, weight, and flavourloss are the main problems of harvesting stage of mushrooms.
The following methods are used to increase their life.
(iv) Vacuum Cooling
Gamma radiation and storing at 15°C.
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