An Introduction to Edible Mushrooms


Mushrooms, yeasts, and algal foods are habitually referenced as elective hotspots for food. Of these, mushrooms are the most favoured things. Present-day mushroom culture delivers a larger number of proteins per unit zone of land than by some other type of agriculture. This additionally comprises an incredible method for reusing a large number of farm wastes. Since these are developed inside, no extra land is required for their way of life.

However, their development is work intensive and can offer self-employment to jobless both educated and unskilled people. Mushrooms can be delivered in enormous amounts within a brief timeframe. The proficiency with which mushrooms convert starches into proteins is around 65 percent in contrast with around 20 percent for pork, 15 percent for poultry and 45 percent for beef. Mushroom protein is 60-70 percent digestible and contains all of the essential amino acids. A large portion of them is unpalatable however non-poisonous, while a couple are unquestionably poisonous. All Morchella species (guchhi) are edible, while both edible and poisonous species of mushrooms are encountered in general like Cantharellus, Lepiota and Boletus. Amanita species are deadly poisonous.

Around 2000 species of fungi throughout the World have been reported to be edible. About 200 out of these 2000 species are available in India. Eight of these have been cultivated for edible purposes in different countries. Agaricus bisporus (white button), Pleurotus spp. (Oyster or tropical), Lentinus edodes (Shiitake), Flammulina velutipes (Winter mushroom), Volvariella spp. (Paddy straw or Chinese), Calocybe indica (Milky Mushroom) are some of the mushrooms which are most popular among the commercial growers. The major edible mushrooms in the world are described briefly below.

White Button Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus):

White button mushroom scientifically known as Agaricus bisporus is the most common mushroom consumed by the majority of the population throughout the world. This mushroom belongs to the Kingdom fungi, Class Basidiomycetes and Family Agaricaceae. White button mushroom requires 16-20°C temperature for its growth along with 80-90% of relative humidity and enough ventilation during cropping. In addition to this, cultivation of button mushrooms is mainly done on compost, which is an integral part of button mushroom production. Compost for cultivation of button mushrooms is prepared through the tedious process of pasteurization using wheat straw as a substrate. The fruit body of the mushroom is umbrella shaped and white in color. The white button mushroom can be purchased fresh or canned and used in soups, sauces, and other dishes. Mushroom protein is 60–70% digestible and provides all necessary amino acids. 

Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.):

The oyster mushroom (Pleurotus sp.), which is a member of the family Agaricaceae and the class Basidiomycetes, is commonly referred to as "dhingri" in India. Numerous Pleurotus species are grown around the world. Some of the species grown in India include P. sajor caju, P. florida, P. ostreatus, P. eryngii, P. flabellatus, P. djamor and others. Depending on the species, the fruit bodies of this mushroom are clearly shell- or spatula-shaped and come in a variety of colors, including white, cream, grey, yellow, pink, or light brown.It naturally grows on dead and decaying wooden logs as well as occasionally on deciduous or coniferous tree trunks in temperate and tropical forests. It might also thrive on organic materials that have decomposed. Oyster mushrooms are cultivated at 25-30°C temperature along with 70-80% of relative humidity. This mushroom is rich in vitamin C and B complex content along with 1.6 to 2.5 percent protein content, and consist of many health benefits like curing hypertension, obesity, diabetes and anemia. They are appropriate for intake by persons who have hyperacidity and constipation because of their alkaline ash and high fibre content.

Oyster Mushroom on wheat straw

Milk Mushroom (Calocybe indica):

Calocybe indica commonly known as milky mushroom can be cultivated on a variety of substrates, including dehulled maize cobs, tea and coffee grounds, wheat, ragi, maize, cotton, and bajra stalks and leaves. This tropical fungus resembles paddy straw mushrooms. The mushroom is attractive and bright white in color. The cultivation process is easy and straightforward. Productivity has increased by 80 to 100%. Milky mushrooms have a long lifespan. Fruit bodies can be kept at room temperature for 3–4 days. Temperature between 25°C to 40°C is the ideal temperature range for growing milky mushrooms. However, 25°C to 35°C is required for the highest yields. Consequently, this mushroom can be grown from the month of March to October in India's major states. Relative humidity in the atmosphere should be between 80 and 85 percent.

Shiitake (Lentinus edodes):

Shitake mushroom scientifically known as Lentinus edodes is edible as well as medicinal mushroom. A coveted mushroom with a delectable flavor and  texture. Shiitake mushrooms naturally grow on deteriorating or dead hardwood in the temperate climate. Typically, the fruit body is made up of circular mushroom caps and a central stem. Depending on the strain, the color of the cap changes. While some strains produce mushrooms with a honey to chocolate brown color, others produce mushrooms with lighter colors. They frequently have white markings along the rim of the cap as well. The stipe and gills are both creamy white in hue. It is used medicinally for immune-suppressive illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, and environmental infections, allergies, and frequent  colds and also the flu. This mushroom has a good shelf life and is highly priced and can be grown at a temperature range between 22-26°C and 80-85% relative humidity. Shiitake mushroom is rich in terms of carbohydrates (47.60%), fibre (28.80%) and proteins (32.93%).

Winter Mushroom (Flammulina velutipes):

Winter mushroom also known as enokitake, golden needle mushroom, velvet shank is a wood decaying fungi growing on trunks of aspens, willows, elms and other broad leaved trees from the end of autumn to early spring. They have a high protein content with all the necessary amino acids, low calories, are cholesterol-free, contain dietary fibre, and are rich in minerals, vitamins, and protein. In addition, this fungus is particularly well-known for its flavor and for having both therapeutic and preventative qualities for ulcers of the stomach and liver. Flammulina velutipes is a long and thin white mushroom having a small fruiting body. This mushroom is commonly cultivated at 21-25ºC and 80-85% relative humidity. It has derived its name “winter mushroom” from the fact that even in the coldest months of the year, winter mushrooms can be grown easily. This mushroom is commonly cultivated on sawdust that has been supplemented with wheat or rice bran.

Paddy Straw Mushroom (Volvariella spp.):

Volvariella volvacea, also known as paddy straw mushroom or the straw mushroom, is widely used in Asian cuisine and is grown all over East and Southeast Asia. The paddy straw mushroom is well-rounded in terms of flavor, scent, delicacy, and high protein, vitamin, and mineral content; as a result, its acceptability is at par with that of the extremely well-liked white button mushroom. Temperature ranges between 30 to 35°C and 80% to 90% relative humidity are some of the abiotic factors that favors the growth of this fungus. Paddy straw mushroom cultivation is possible in both a thatched home and a tree's canopy. Clean, fresh disease free paddy straw is by far regarded as the best substrate for the cultivation of this mushroom.


Mushrooms are one of the most popular and versatile gifts of nature. It can be mixed into any food preparations or can be processed to give a new product. There are many items made from mushrooms on the market right now, including pickled mushrooms, sauces, beverages, extracts, dried and canned mushrooms, mushroom supplements, cosmetics, and more. In addition to mushroom food products, many other industries are seeing the emergence of novel products, such as mycelium-based platforms, biodegradable packaging, mycelium-based leather, building materials, and pharmaceuticals. Mushrooms are quick to grow, easy to cultivate and produce no waste or carbon emissions. For cultivators, the fungi is a reliable source of income, and its processing results in further advantages. As a result of their numerous benefits, mushrooms have a promising future in every way.


Annepu S K, Sharma V P, Kumar S & Barh A. 2019. Cultivation Techniques of Shiitake (A Medicinal Mushroom with Culinary Delight). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/352837214_Cultivation_Techniques_of_Shiitake_A_Medicinal_Mushroom_with_Culinary_Delight

Ahlawat O P & Arora B. 2016. Paddy Straw Mushroom (Volvariella volvacea) Cultivation. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343499927_Paddy_Straw_Mushroom_Volvariella_volvacea_Cultivation

Cultivation of Winter Mushroom (Flammulina velutipes) https://dmrsolan.icar.gov.in/Folder_Flammulina_Mushroom__English_.pdf

Munshi N A, Dar G H, Ghani M Y, Kauser S & Mughal N. (2010). Button Mushroom Cultivation. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236011864_Button_Mushroom_Cultivation

Maurya A K, John V & Rathor U S. 2020. Cultivation Techniques of Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus sp.). 10.22271/ed.book.905. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/344176332_Cultivation_Techniques_of_Oyster_Mushroom_Pleurotus_sp

Maurya A K, Murmu R, John V, Srivastava D K & Pant H. 2020. An introduction about milky mushroom: Their cultivation and disease management. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/345603860_AN_INTRODUCTION_ABOUT_MILKY_MUSHROOM_THEIR_CULTIVATION_AND_DISEASE_MANAGEMENT


Neha Sharma1 Vikas Chauhan2 and Vishal Gandhi3

1,2,3Assistant Professor, Chandigarh School of Business (CSB), Chandigarh Group of Colleges (CGC), Jhanjeri (Mohali), India

Share your comments

FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters