Shiitake mushrooming across Bengaluru’s home gardens

The premium variety of mushrooms is now grown by urban gardeners in Bengaluru, says IIHR 

February 23, 2023 09:52 pm | Updated 09:52 pm IST - Bengaluru

Shiitake is a the premium variety of mushrooms being grown in countries such as Japan, China, and South Korea.

Shiitake is a the premium variety of mushrooms being grown in countries such as Japan, China, and South Korea. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Bengaluru:

Shiitake, the premium variety of mushrooms being grown only in a few countries such as Japan, China, and South Korea, is now being cultivated in Bengaluru by urban gardeners.

The Mushroom Research Lab at Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR) in Hessarghatta has been giving training to cultivate the shiitake mushroom and a few people have successfully started cultivating it in the city and other districts of Karnataka, according to IIHR officials.

Muthanna, a resident of east Bengaluru, has been cultivating shiitake mushrooms from the last few years. “This mushroom has good demand in restaurants and five-star hotels. However, there are a few challenges to grow it. Temperature should be below 18°C and sometimes, we cannot maintain the temperature and have to depend upon technology. By using technology to control the temperature, the yield is good.”

Earlier, shiitake mushrooms were imported from Japan and China at exorbitant costs. It was domesticated and standardised for cultivation for Indian conditions by the Mushroom Research Lab.

Apart from Bengaluru, the cooler climes of Kodagu, Chikkamagaluru, Udhagamandalam, Coonoor, and Kodaikanal are particularly conducive to its cultivation. Chandrashekara C., senior scientist at Mushroom Research Lab, said: “Shiitake mushrooms are known for their medicinal properties, especially anti-cancer use and cholesterol-reduction ability. We have developed weather-friendly strains of shiitake. Those interested can buy these seeds from us by booking in advance.”

“These varieties are normally grown in a situation where the temperature is below 25°C. The mushrooms could 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,” he added.

Shitake mushroom, according to officials, has been cultivated for over a thousand years now and is one of the popular sources of protein in China, Japan, and East Asia. They are now available at ₹1,200 to ₹2,000 a kg in Bengaluru, officials explained.

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The IIHR is demonstrating shiitake mushrooms at the annual National Horticulture Fair 2023 that will be held till February 25 in Hesaraghatta.

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