Wednesday, April 17, 2013



"Crop diversification through mushrooms can provide food as well as nutritional sources," stated Dr A.K. Bakshi, Chairman of the Plenary Session and former Vice-Chancellor, Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology, Modipuram, Meerut, during the concluding session of the "Indian Mushroom Conference 2013," organized at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in association with Mushroom Society of India and Directorate of Mushroom Research, Solan. The mushroom scientists from across the country participated in the workshop, based on the theme "From Diversity to Diversification for Nutritional and Environmental Security." Meanwhile a two-day workshop of All India Coordinated Research Project on Mushroom began today at the PAU.

Dr Bakshi said that there are different types of mushrooms which are grown in summer and winter seasons. Mushrooms are vastly consumed and are highly perishable, he highlighted, while emphasizing on boosting the production of mushrooms to feed the increasing population. Stressing on enhancing the quality of mushrooms and increasing the shelf-life of fresh mushrooms, Dr Bakshi said that there is a need to back-up efforts for their post-harvest management also so that the mushroom production can come up in a big way. He applauded the PAU for having strong research and development department in mushrooms.

Dr Manjit Singh, Director, Directorate of Mushroom Research (DMR), Solan, co-chaired the session.

On this occasion, two PAU Senior Mycologists namely Dr Shammi Kapoor and Dr H.S. Sodhi were bestowed with the Award of Honour. Three best posters were given away prizes.

Referring to the recommendations emerging out of the conference, the experts underlined the need for coordinated efforts to collect germplasm, utilizing mushroom in nanotechnology, barcoding for mushroom identification, developing economically viable models, strengthening of integrated-pest management, evolving quality parameters, and awareness generation and indigenous recipes. The experts emphasized that more and more new medicinal mushrooms should be brought under cultivation and that DMR may act as a repository for conservation of mushroom germplasm. More rsearch is needed in case of Morchella, especially, on the parameters responsible for fruiting of the sclerotium, they observed. In case of Cordyceps, more focus should be given to those species which occur at low attitude, they stressed.

The two-day conference witnessed deliberations on various theme areas including germplasm diversity; genetics and breeding; mushroom production technology; biotic and abiotic disorder; medicinal and mycorrhizal mushrooms; biochemistry, nutrition and molecular biology, in addition to post-harvest, quality control and marketing.

During the workshop, discussions on germplasm collection and conservation, and crop improvement were held. Besides, an interface with research and development organizations and mushroom growers was also organized.
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