Kerala

Throwing light on the importance of mushrooms

Mushrooms. You've seen them springing up in different sizes and shapes, especially after the rain. What exactly are they? How are they different from each other? What roles do they play in the ecosystem?

The Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) is offering a new certificate course, 'Mushroom (Macrofungi) identification and need for their conservation in natural habitats,' designed to throw light on the often-neglected but remarkable world of mushrooms.

Open to college students, the course is designed to make the younger generation aware of this life form, which are the fruiting bodies formed by macrofungi, and the valuable ecosystem services they perform. The course is also aimed at creating general awareness about the need for their conservation in their natural habitats, Yamuna S., Principal Scientist, KSBB, and course coordinator, said.

The online course will be held on Fridays and Saturdays from July 1 to September 10. The course is open to ongoing graduate and postgraduate students of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics/Statistics, Food Science, Geology and Home Science. June 30 is the last date for applications.

For humans, mushrooms are economically important as a source of food and for their applications in areas such as brewing, fermentation, pharmaceuticals, and the dye industry. In the ecosystem, they perform wide-ranging roles. Today, overexploitation of land, pollution, climate change and other factors are posing serious threats to their existence, said Dr. Yamuna.

''Since ours is a tropical region, we have a rich diversity of mushrooms, but studies and catalogues are thin on the ground. Only if they are properly catalogued can we know whether they are vulnerable or endangered and require conservation,'' said Dr. Yamuna.

During two days of offline interaction, the students will also get an opportunity to visit the mushroom herbarium at the Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute, Palode, and trek to forest areas to collect mushroom samples.

For details, visit www.keralabiodiversity.org or call, 8086915318.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2022 6:05:30 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/throwing-light-on-the-importance-of-mushrooms/article65553450.ece