On average, more than 70% of agricultural and forest materials are non-productive and have been treated as lignocellulosic wastes in processing.These wastes are bound to lead to environmental pollution and, consequently, to health hazards
Currently, Mushroom cultivation is the only major process in biotechnology which successfully converts cellulose into useful foods and byproducts. However, it is only recently that we are beginning to gain a better understanding of the distinct and complex microbial processes involved in mushroom cultivation.
Since the lignocellulose wastes are available in every corner of the world, they can be properly used in the cultivation of mushrooms, and therefore could pilot a so-called white agricultural revolution in less developed countries and in the world at large. Mushrooms demonstrate a great impact on agriculture and the environment, and they have great potential for generating a great socio-economic impact in human welfare on local, national, and global levels.
They biosynthesize their own food from agricultural crop residues, which, like solar energy, are readily available; otherwise, their byproducts and wastes would cause health hazards. The spent compost/substrate could be used to grow other species of mushrooms, as fodder for livestock, as a soil conditioner and fertilizer, and in environmental bioremediation.
Regarding the beneficial nutritional effects of mushrooms, the following facts should be noted:
•Mushrooms have a low energy level, which is beneficial for weight reduction.
•Mushrooms have a low glucose level, and more mannitol, which is especially beneficial for diabetics.
•Mushrooms have a very low sodium concentration, which is beneficial for the diet of persons suffering from high blood pressure.
•Mushrooms have a high content of several key vitamins, which is an important orthomolecular aspect. This means that a significant part of the daily requirement of different essential vitamins can be covered by consuming mushrooms.
•Mushrooms have a high content of potassium and phosphorus, which is an important orthomolecular aspect as well.
• Mushrooms have a high content of selenium, which is regarded as an excellent antioxidant.
Edible, medicinal, and wild mushrooms are the three major components of the global mushroom industry. World production of cultivated, edible mushrooms has increased more than 30‐fold since 1978. China is the main producer of cultivated, edible mushrooms.
The global impact of edible and medicinal mushrooms on food, environment, social change, economic growth, and quality of health is expected to continue increasing and expanding in the 21st century.
Mushrooms can be used as food, tonics, medicines, cosmeceuticals, and as natural biocontrol agents in plant protection with insecticidal, fungicidal, bactericidal, herbicidal, nematocidal, and antiphytoviral activities.
Being so nutritious and environment saving still compared to other vegetables; per capita consumption of mushrooms in India is meagre and data indicates it is less than 100 grams per year.At present, the total mushroom production in India is approximately 0.13 million tons.
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