Scientists at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have started a project which will allow farmers in Sikkim to earn additional income by cultivating Vitamin D-enriched shiitake, a mushroom native to East Asia.
Utilization in Japanese Cuisine:
The fragrant, large umbrella mushroom is usually utilized in Japanese cuisine but is becoming increasingly popular in India. The mushrooms are expensive because they grow in very specific conditions on logs of fallen trees.
Although shiitake is cultivated in north-east India at the present, researchers at CSIR-IHBT have created a replacement technology that permits these mushrooms to grow in controlled lab conditions much faster.
According to Rakshak Kumar Acharya, a microbiologist at IHBT, Palampur, the technology had been earlier transferred to many private companies in India.
Usage in Delhi Markets:
“In Delhi markets, it's sold at 3,000 per kg. Rates are very high compared to other mushrooms. this is often because it's a really good smoky and meaty flavour,” he told ThePrint.
Three food-processing cluster centres are being found out in Sikkim together with the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. aside from facilities to grow the mushrooms, the centre also will have processing and packaging facilities. the govt has allocated Rs 2.34 crore for every of the three cluster centres, and therefore the stone for the primary centre was laid down on 29 January.
The team at CSIR-IHBT has also created a process to reinforce the vitamin D content within these mushrooms in the lab.
Report by Researchers:
According to the researchers, each cluster is probably going to empower 250 households by providing additional income.
While the centre will take a couple of months to be found out, the team is already training the area people on the way to grow these mushrooms.
“In natural conditions, the quantity of your time that the mushroom takes to grow depends on the moisture and temperature. When it rains, the mushroom blooms. This happens once or twice during a year,” Acharya said.
However, in captive cultivation, it takes about 40 to 60 days for the shiitake to grow.
The team also plans to expand the project to other states within the Northeast, like Nagaland and Manipur, where shiitake cultivation from wooden logs is already popular.
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