Mushroom and its importance

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THE HIGHER, fleshy fungi bloom into a visible tuff umbrella like structure producing spore are called mushrooms. Its varies different color, size and taste. Each and every mushroom has different typical parts. Some mushrooms have same typical parts. Cap or pileus (It is white creamy or brown in color and almost smooth in structure. It is situated just above the stem), stipe or stem (It is situated in the center of pileus, it is solid when it is young and becoming hollow latter on), gills or lamellae (These are situated on the underside of the pelius. The gills bear spore on their surface), rings or annulus (Annulus is present in the sample of white bottom mushroom), volva (the entire fruiting body is covered by the sac like structure). It is also consists of small root like structure (rhizoids) at the base of long stipe (stem). The upper surface of cap is rough or smooth but its lower surface bears the gills (partitions) or pores, which produces microscopic spores which are of different colored and shaped, that serve as a mean of reproduction and develop mycelium on germination, which convert in to the fruiting body called mushrooms, having a form of plant life, without green coloring matter.


The mushrooms are sometimes termed as fungus flowers due to their lovely shapes and colors. These also commonly known as gilled mushrooms, pore fungi, tooth fungi, club fungi, smooth fungi, puff balls, stink horns, jelly fungi, cup fungi, earth stars, birds nest fungi, boletus (bolets), morels, truffles and toadstool. Naturally, the mushrooms observed on the manure heaps and dump places like fields, woods, forests, water channels, manure heaps, bunds and on grassy grounds or in the plains, mountainous and coastal areas of Pakistan, mostly during the rainy season or round an year, whenever environment is favorable.


Each and every kind of mushroom has different effect on body; some are harmful and some are beneficial. The majority of mushrooms are unappealing for eating because of poor flavor, taste, texture, small size or sometimes due to unattractive color and shape (commonly referred as inedible). Many mushrooms are poisonous to some people and harmless to other, but some mushrooms are edible and a few are not only edible, but delicious too, because people have eaten them regularly in sizeable quantity with no ill effect; are used by more than 200 different methods, may be cooked alone as well as with vegetables, meat, fish etc., and are used for making soups, pies and curries; mushroom ketchup, sandwiches and sauce.


The edible mushrooms have good flavor, taste and texture. These are considered as the source of Proteins, Vitamins, Fats, Carbohydrates, Amino acids and Minerals. The protein value of the mushrooms is twice as that of potatoes, four times as that of carrots and tomatoes, six times as that of oranges. The protein content determined on the dry weight basis approximately varies between 4 to 44%. The range of amino acids and other similar nitrogen compounds is very large, generally includes rare.


The mushrooms contain thiamin; niacin, biotin, riboflavin, and ascorbic acid, all are essential for human health. The most common fats, available in different mushrooms are steric, oleic, palmitic, and linoleic acids. Many mushrooms have high sterol, especially ergo-sterol content. The carbohydrate content varies from 3 to 28 %, as xylose, ribose, rhamnose, glucose, sucrose and mannitol etc. the later sugar seems to be the most abundant. The mineral content is superior to that of meat and fish, nearly twice as that of the most commonly used vegetables. Minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and potassium are supplied abundantly and there is also a fair quantity of iron, sodium, magnesium, manganese, chlorine, potassium silicon, sulfur and aluminum, which are also found in different mushrooms.


The energy value of mushrooms varies according to species, which is about equal to that of an apple. The local Khumbi, desert mushroom, Podaxis pistillaris is consumed by various ways, mostly as fresh in breakfast, contains 21.06% crude protein, 1.71% ether extract, 24.13% ash and 12.23% crude fiber. The mixture of mushrooms has been used for healing purposes for thousands of years. The mushrooms are mainly recommended to diabetic and anemic persons, owing to their high folic acid content. Some are demonstrated as an antibiotic activity others are reputed to be anti-allergic and some are used for soft and comfortable surgical dressing while some are used for anesthesia. Some mushrooms are used as a powder or tincture for swollen glands, epilepsy and against various diseases.


Mushroom extract also inhibits the growth of some viruses like influenza. Cardiotoxic proteins are present in different edible mushrooms, which lower the blood pressure, and are also active against tumor cells and are anti-cancer. The desert mushroom is used in different way, for treatment of different food deficiencies, illness and is used with butter for bandage of broken bones. Some mushrooms are mycorrhizal, used for establishment of forests, to improve the soil fertility, for reclamation and for introduction of exotic plant species; others are predatory and are used as bio control agent and others as pesticide. Some mushrooms also known as condiment, cleaning detergent, tinder, tun bridge ware, snuff, dyeing, luminescent, painting and writing material (as ink), ornamental (as show piece) depending upon use. Mushrooms are objects of beauty for artists. Architects have constructed minarets, temples and cupola columns in their shapes. Jewelers have made expensive pieces on mushroom designs.


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Published in: Volume 06 Issue 24

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