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Researchers Identify New Record of Edible Mushroom Growing on Arecanut Husk

New Project 2024 04 02t143727.504
Photo Credit : File photo

A team of researchers from the ICAR-Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI) in Vittal and Kasaragod, in collaboration with the Department of Botany at the University of Calicut, has discovered a new record of the edible Coprinopsis cinerea mushroom variety naturally growing on arecanut husk.

The identification of this mushroom species was made possible through morphological and multi-gene-based molecular investigations conducted by a team comprising researchers from ICAR-CPCRI and the University of Calicut.

The initiative to cultivate this particular mushroom variety was taken up by Harish Rai Derla, a farmer from Mudipinadka in Puttur. Shree Padre, editor of Adike Patrike, closely followed and recognized Derla’s efforts in this regard.

The research findings, published in the Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture, highlight Coprinopsis as a genus of mushrooms known primarily for their ecological role in decomposing organic matter.

Ongoing research aims to explore the potential medicinal benefits of these mushrooms, including immunomodulation and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as their potential as a source of bioactive compounds for pharmaceutical purposes.

K. Balachandra Hebbar, director of CPCRI, Kasaragod, emphasized the importance of evaluating the economic feasibility of commercial cultivation of mushrooms, especially if they prove to have medicinal value, which could lead to premium pricing in the market.

Derla has successfully harvested 20 batches of mushrooms so far, confirming their year-round growth potential. He noted an improvement in size post-March compared to winter produce.

Padre acknowledged the challenges associated with commercial cultivation due to limited quantity and small size. He stressed the need to utilize arecanut husks, now considered societal waste, by exploring their use as manure and potential sale, alongside mushroom cultivation as a byproduct.

Padre also suggested storing mushrooms in freezers for later sale to local restaurants and emphasized the importance of additional nutrient supplements during cultivation to enhance quality and quantity. He called for further research on the nutraceutical value of mushrooms and suggested involvement of the Arecanut Research Centre in UAHS, Shivamogga, for study in this regard.

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