Indian researchers have successfully domesticated and standardised shiitake mushrooms for domestic cultivation, The Hindu reports.
A laboratory dedicated to mushroom research at the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR) has been successful in developing the variety, which has normally been imported from Japan and China at considerable cost.
“Imported shitake mushrooms cost about Rs600 (US$9.53) per kilo,” the principal scientist of the Mushroom Research Lab, Meera Pandey, told The Hindu. “With standardisation of cultivation procedures, it can be grown in India, which could reduce the cost considerably.”
It took the institute more than two years to successfully develop the shiitake mushroom for local cultivation. The IIHR has also been successful in standardising two local mushroom varieties, the pink oyster and cherry oyster, for wider cultivation.
Looking at areas that would suit growing shiitake mushrooms, the cooler regions of Ooty, Kodaikanal and Kodagu are thought to be ideal.
Shiitake mushrooms are valued as a nutritionally beneficial product, with protein, anti-cancer agents and cholestrol-reducing properties.