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Shiitake Mushroom Cultivation in India: Features Climate Conditions & Medicinal Properties

GS Paper 3, Environment & Geography

Shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes) are a type of edible mushroom that are popular in many cuisines. They are native to East Asia and have been cultivated for over a thousand years. Here are the features and climatic conditions required for Shiitake mushroom cultivation:

  • Substrate: Shiitake mushrooms can grow on a variety of substrates, including logs, sawdust, and straw. The substrate should be sterilized before inoculation to prevent contamination.
  • Temperature: Shiitake mushrooms grow best at temperatures between 20-28°C (68-82°F). They require a temperature drop of 5-10°C (9-18°F) for fruiting.
  • Humidity: Shiitake mushrooms require high humidity levels, ideally between 85-95%. This can be achieved through misting or by growing the mushrooms in a humid environment.
  • Light: Shiitake mushrooms do not require direct sunlight and can be grown in low light conditions. However, some indirect light is necessary for proper fruiting.
  • pH: The ideal pH range for shiitake mushroom cultivation is between 5.0-6.5.
  • Airflow: Good airflow is important for shiitake mushroom cultivation to prevent the buildup of carbon dioxide and to promote the exchange of gases.

In summary, shiitake mushrooms require a warm, humid, and well-ventilated environment, along with a suitable substrate for growth.

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Cultivation of Shiitake Mushroom in Bengaluru and Other Parts of India

Shiitake Mushroom: Introduction

  • Shiitake mushroom is a premium variety of mushroom grown in a few countries like Japan, China, and South Korea.
  • It is now being cultivated in Bengaluru by urban gardeners, thanks to the Mushroom Research Lab at the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR) in Hessarghatta, which provides training to cultivate shiitake mushroom
  • According to IIHR officials, a few people have successfully started cultivating shiitake mushroom in the city and other districts of Karnataka.

Features and Climate Conditions Required for Shiitake Mushroom Cultivation

  • Shiitake mushroom cultivation requires a well-ventilated environment, high humidity, good airflow, and a suitable substrate for growth. The ideal temperature for shiitake mushroom cultivation is below 18°C, and sometimes, technology is required to control the temperature.
  • However, weather-friendly strains of shiitake have been developed by the Mushroom Research Lab, which can be grown without artificial temperature control.
  • Shiitake mushroom can be cultivated in areas in and around Bengaluru without any artificial temperature control or also grown from July to January or February when the temperature is normally cool in the city.

Shiitake Mushroom Cultivation in India

  • Earlier, shiitake mushrooms were imported from Japan and China at exorbitant costs. The Mushroom Research Lab domesticated and standardized shiitake mushroom cultivation for Indian conditions.
  • Apart from Bengaluru, the cooler climes of Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, Udhagamandalam, Coonoor, and Kodaikanal are particularly conducive to its cultivation.
  • A few areas in Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu in South India are highly suitable for cultivating shiitake mushroom in the natural environment.
  • In addition, a few northeastern states like Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh are highly suitable for cultivating shiitake mushroom.

Medicinal Properties of Shiitake Mushroom

  • Shiitake mushroom is known for its medicinal properties, especially its anti-cancer use and cholesterol-reduction ability.
  • Shiitake mushroom is one of the popular sources of protein in China, Japan, and East Asia.

Availability and Demonstration of Shiitake Mushroom

  • Shiitake mushroom is available in Bengaluru at ₹1,200 to ₹2,000 a kg. The IIHR is demonstrating shiitake mushrooms at the annual National Horticulture Fair 2023, which will be held till February 25 in Hesaraghatta.
  • Those interested can buy the seeds of weather-friendly strains of shiitake mushroom from the IIHR by booking in advance.

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