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The Nutritional and Medical Values of Mushrooms


Mushrooms are modern day health foods that are low in carbohydrates and fats, yet high in protein (20-to -40% protein dry weight basis and 4% on fresh weight basis) which is equivalent to milk protein and are rich in vitamins than most vegetables.

Mushrooms are recommended for diabetic and anemia persons owing to their high folic acid content and valued for their therapeutic properties, while the polyscchariles in it is known to inhibit the growth of cancer, tumors. They are also used in treating stomach and intestinal ulcers and it contains ant-biotic properties.

The Argo-sterol compound in mushroom breaks down cholesterol in blood, thus it is good for people with hypertension, gout and other related problems. Their excellent flavor, it is said that early time mushrooms were regarded as a food for Kings, warriors, gods, and bridegrooms. In some communities are mushrooms are regarded as an elixir of life.


Spawn is the seed which you can use for production of mushrooms; it is prepared by inoculating mushroom culture into sterilized grain media under stile conditions. The grain used is sorghum, wheat, and finger millet.

Mushroom is cultivated indoor in plastic bags containing pasteurized (heated) organic substrate. The organic substrates may be crop residues like cereal straws, and Stover, bean or soybean trash, groundnut shells, or agro-industrial residues like cotton seed hulls, cotton ginning, textile residue, bagasse, brewery residue and sun flower peels.


A mushroom house should be partitioned into incubation room which should be warm and dark, and cropping room which is cool with light and good aeration and high humidity.

The house requires no erratic change in temperature, so it should have an insulated roof which can be easily provided by using grass thatch, or papyrus mats on the roof. Windows should face each other in the north-south direction to avoid direct sunshine in the morning and evening and it should have wire mesh instead of shutters in order to allow air and light and keep away insects.

The incubation room is kept dark and warm by having no windows and cools the cropping room by air circulation, sprinkling water in the room twice a day or keep porous clay pots full of water in the room can cool it.


Heat (pasteurize) the substrate at about 90c for at least 2 hours let it cool and drain excess water before packing in 4 kg plastic bags. Mix the spawn (seeds) with the substrate in plastic bag and the packed bags are then inoculated at 25c in the dark for three (3). During this period the spawn colonies the substrate and this period is called the spawn-run. After, the bags are slit and exposed to low temperature, humidity, aeration and light which stimulate the mycelia to form fruiting bodies which are the edible mushrooms.


Harvest mushrooms when caps are still curved downwards before shedding spores as caps are flattened out or curved upwards they are over mature and of low quality also lose weight and are more fibrous.

Harvest by hand twisting and pulling off the whole stem , and remove the whole stump from the substrate to avoid contamination and to inhibit further growth of mushroom on the space.

Pack fresh mushroom in plastic films and it can keep fresh at 4c for 4 days.  Preserving mushroom solar drying or sun drying is used; pack mushroom in dry clean container or in films. Dried packed mushrooms can keep for one year (12 months).         

 By: Mulopi Joseph

Celac mayuge district farmers net work.