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Nutritional & medicinal value of various mushrooms varieties

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Mushrooms are fungi and can be classified into three basic ecological groups, Mycorrlizal, parasitic, and Saprophytic. Different mushrooms have different Nutrition values but generally, they are rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins low in cholesterol and fats, and are therefore healthy to eat.

 1. Agaricus (Buttons)

This is the most common mushroom in the Kenyan Market.  Their colour varies from white to brown as does the size, from small to extremely large.  They are plump and dome-shaped.  Their flavor is enhanced through cooking.

Growing this mushroom requires the preparation of compost made from cereal straws, supplemented with animal manure.  The material is stacked turned and watered to elevate the temperatures which encourages the proliferation of thermo-tolerant microorganisms that convert cellulose compounds into cellular proteins.

 The compost is then pasteurized with elevated temps to neutralize pests by selectively favoring thermo-tolerant fungi and actinomyces. Farmers in Kenya are growing- Strain Agaricus bisphorus which fruits at 19 to 20 degrees centigrade which proves difficult for many farmers as most of Kenya is Warm.

The Institute for Biotechnology Research Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology has developed a warm weather strain- Agaricus bitorquis which fruits at 25 to 26 degrees centigrade, which farmers are finding easy to grow.

 Nutrition of Agaricus- Buttons:

Moisture: 88-90%

Crude Protein  N x 4.48

Fat: 1.7 – 3.1%

Carbohydrates: 51.3 – 62.5%

Fibre : 8.0 – 10.4%

N-Free Carbohydrates     U4.0 – 53.5

Energy (Kcal/100g dry Material)

 Medicinal Value:
  • Improves Immune System
  • Alleviates Allergies
  • Improves Kidney and Liver function
  • Rich in fibre mops disease-causing toxins from the digestive system
 2. Pleorotus -Oyster

 This mushroom has a convex cap expanding to broadly convex eventually flat and even upturned in age, 5 by 20cm in diameter.  The colour is white to yellow or grey.  The colour varies according to strain, lighting, and temperature conditions.  Some strains grow in clusters while others form individuals.

 This mushroom is gaining popularity in Kenya because of the ease of growth utilizing a wide variety of agricultural wastes.  When cooked, it has an intense flavour.  (Pasteurization is done with steam or boiling water).

This is proving expensive for small farmers due to the cost of fuel, and farmers are advised to use cheaper pasteurization methods of soaking material overnight in a 3% solution of hydrated lime.

Related News: Once jobless youths earn Sh4 million monthly from mushrooms

 Nutritional Value:

Crude protein          – 10 -30%  

Vitamin C                -30-144mg/100g

Folic Acid                 -65mg/100g

Potassium                 -306mg / 100g

 Medicinal value:

Active ingredients LOVASTATIN

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves kidney and liver function
  • Cures gastrointestinal disorders
  • Lowers blood cholesterol
  • Relieves pain in gout 100g/day.
 3. Lentnus -Shiitake

The cap of shiitake is broad, hemispheric expanding to convex and eventually plane at maturation. The colour is black-brown at first becoming light brown in age.

Growing shiitake utilizes sawdust, chips, rice straw, and bran buffered with Gypsum. Pasteurization of substrate requires elevated temps of 121°C for 4 – 5 hours which is a challenge to small growers.  Methods suitable to small farmers are being developed at the University to make small growers afford growing shiitake.

 Nutritional Value:

–  Protein         –           13 to 18%

–  Niacin          –           55mg/100g

–  Thiamin        –           7.8mg/100g

–  Riboflavin    –           5.0mg/100g    

–  Fibre –                     6 to 15%

–  Fat                –           2 to 5%

 Medicinal Value:

Active ingredient LENTINAN

  • Improves the immune system by activating the helper T cells
  • Controls cancers
  • Slows HIV virus by increasing the CD4 cell count.

This mushroom upon drying can be ground and put into capsules, or used to add value to other foods.

4. Reishi-Ganoderma

This mushroom is conk-like or kidney-like in shape.  It’s wood textured and will be 5 by 20cm in diameter, and has a shiny surface which is black brown.  In nature, it grows on dead or dying trees.  Its also found on three stumps and especially bears the soil interface and occasionally on the soils arising from buried roots.

Medicinal Value:
  • Improves the immune system by activating the helper T cells
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Cures liver disintegration disease
  • Controls cancers.
  • Lowers Cholesterol
  • Cures Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Cures Insomnia
  • Slows the aging process.
  • Improves well-being by calming the nervous system.

Ganoderma can be consumed by grinding the dried mushroom which can be added to tea.  It can also be boiled for 5 min and extracted used.  5 grams is traditionally prescribed per day.  A glass a day of the extract will maintain your health.

Advantages of mushroom production- why mushrooms?

– Kenyans are changing eating habits.

-Tourism Industry is growing.

-Mushroom growing is not rain-dependent.

-It utilizes agricultural wastes as growing media.

-Subdivision and changes in climatic patterns have made traditional crops like maize, tea, and coffee unprofitable.

-Mushrooms can easily be cultivated in urban areas.

–  Mushroom growing requires little space.

Read more:

Accountant’s job or mushroom farming; mushrooms earn more

Water hyacinth provides good substrate for mushroom farming

Using Agricultural waste to grow mushrooms

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