These are aerial expressions of vegetative(hyphal)growth of fungi in the substrate. The substrate may be decaying log of wood, tree bark or other dead organic matter Although its macroscopic expressions are now used for all human activities, including nutrition and medicine, it was not originally designed for these purposes. It is designed to bring to the open the spores in order to allow multiplication. The actual organism lives organically under the ground or inside wood, reveals presence only by fruiting. The aerial growth is a reaction to environmental stress, most times, nutrient stress


Benefits /significance

  • A. As food for man e g Agaricus spp, Pleurotus spp

1.Rich in protein, vitamin (B, B2, & C) and has many minerals. The nutritional content is located within the chitinous cell wall. Has no sodium, and cholesterol

Water content- 90%

  1. Protein- 3-4% (retained by N2 content x 6.25)

Dry weight- 20-35%

3.Contains all essential amino acids. Lysine, inadequate in cereals, is in abundance in mushrooms

4.Fat- unsaturated fatty acids (healthy to man) are in abundance is Linoleic acid

5.Vitamins and rich in minerals- Thiamine (B1),  Riboflavin (B2), Ascorbic acid (C), Niacin & Biotin, P, K. Na

6 Fresh mushroom contains fibres and carbohydrates


  • B. As medicine

1.lowers cholesterol level, reduces heart and coronary disease

2.suppresses the growth of tumours

3 controls effect of diabetes  eg Plenrotus, Lentinula

4.reduces infections through the production of antioxidants eg Ganodema, Auricalaria,


  • C. In environmental remediation
  1. neutralizing of polluted          or acidic soil


2.degrade lignin, hemicelluloses like  the basidiomycete white rot (lignin degrading) fungi.  The white rot fungi  can degrade lignin & hemicelluloses leading to the wood turning white, a process called bio-bleaching

3.break down poly aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH)e.g. Phanerochaetes chrysosporium and Coriolus versicolor– both produce extra cellular enzymes


  • D.Ancient people linked mushroom to the gods,
  • E.No arable land is needed for their cultivation
  • F.Agricultural  waste can be  turned to fertili


Edible mushrooms include-Agaricus bisporus (button mushroom), Pleurotus spp, Volvariella volvacea, (paddy straw mushroom)Lentinus edoides(shiitake). Others include Coprinus spp, Auricularia polytricha and the chanterrelle

Poisonous one are usually identified by their deep odour and excessive pigmentation(colouration) Examples are  Amanita phalloides(death cap),Coenocybe filaris, and Cortinarius species.



Mushrooms are generally found in the Division basidiomycota although a few are located in the Ascomycota

They are mostly  saprophytes, symbionts, parasites, but they mostly combine at least two of these i.e symbionts also have saprophytic tendencies. Parasites change to saprophyte after host’s death.

Saprophytes are on dead wood, soil and decaying leaves and other organic materials. The margin and pileus can be used to describe a typical mushroom. The margins  can be Smooth, Crenate, striate or wavy . The pileus can also be smooth, velvety, raised scales, having patches or flat scales.

Looking for mushroom in the wild is called MUSHROOMING or MUSHROOM HUNTING It is the  practice of foraying for mushrooms in a defined area or habitat. They however, can live in diverse microhabitats within a particular ecosystem conferring limitations on their species diversity and number of stands.

The compost is pasteurized to kill the pathogens.

=In mushroom cultivation,  a form of single cell protein is being produced  because agricultural waste is recycled into food(SCP) and the remains serve as organic manure . About 3 weeks is needed to attain harvest of mushrooms. The mushroom grows in “flushes”(sing=flush) which is defined as the group of mushroom ready for harvest. Harvesting of mushroom is also called cropping. Flushes appear at approximately 7 days intervals until 4 or 5 flushes are harvested and the substrate is deemed spent and unproductive. At different stages of maturity the grower can harvest buttons(having unopened caps); or cups (with open caps) sometimes curving up and revealing full gills. 

The significance of mushrooms whether edible or poisonous, is rested on the culinary and medicinal advantage as well as their morbidity and mortality attractions when consumed by the uninformed. The species come in various colours, shapes, together with pileus and stipe configurations.

Amanita phalloides(death cap), Conocybe filaria and Cortinarius sp (web cap) are examples of poisonous mushroom. Edible  types include  Agaricus bisporus, Pleurotus species, Volvariella volvaceaLentinus eloides,  and Boletus sp.


Prospective  mushroom hunters must adopt the following safety rules before embracing any mushroom at all

1 For a confirmed  amateur, totally inexperienced in mushrooming, it is adviseable to stay away from any species  considered difficult to classify.

2 Ensure multiple sources for confirmation of status, before attempting to eat.

3.Do not rush at ‘look- alikes’. Some mushrooms that are considered edible in one region may have some similar forms which may draw an inexperienced person to them for consumption

4 At first, it is advisable to consume only a little of a fairly unclassified mushroom. Then watch reactions over time, even after, enough expert opinion considered such as safe

5.A mushroom that is very attractive in colour is  most likely a candidate for poisonous groups. Equally, those with strong odour must be avoided at first contact.

6 Most edible ones fall under ‘Little Brown Mushrooms’(LBM) group making any similar species, even when not yet confirmed, to be suspected as edible. The danger of such can be avoided by exercising great caution.

7 Avoid mushrooms that grow profusely in heavily polluted areas. They are accumulators of heavy metals, making them unsafe.


Dele Fapohunda

May 4 2023

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