Bioremediation of Environmental and Agricultural Lignocellulosic Waste through Mushroom CultivationAuthor(s): Aagosh Verma, Anuradha Singh and Nupur Mathur
India is an agricultural nation and thus also rich in agricultural waste. Large amount of lignocellulosic waste and other types of such wastes are produced primarily through the activities of the agricultural, forest and food processing units. Various strains of mushrooms including oyster and shiitake can be used as a tool in process of bioremediation in which hazardous wastes are biologically converted to harmless compounds. Pleurotus species can easily coloni ze and degrade large vari eties of waste e.g., rice husk, waste paper, corn cobs, saw dust, wood chips, sugarcane, bagasse, cotton waste, cotton seed hull, chicken and horse manure etc. Substrate preparation, inoculation, incubation, and production conditions depend on the mushroom species to be cultivated. These cultivated mushrooms are rich in essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and several kinds of amino acids. Mushroom production in India has been estimated at 48000 tonnes per annum. It is mainly cultivated on the hills as it requires low temperature for its growth; however with the advent of modern cultivation technology it is now possible to cultivate this mushroom seasonally under uncontrolled conditions and throughout the year by employing environmentally controlled conditions. In the last ten years, large numbers of commercials units have been built by the entrepreneurs/farmers throughout the country for the production of button mushrooms. Various institutes in India are engaged in finding new technologies for growth of these agricultural macro fungi. Bioconversion of lignocellulosic agro-residues through mushroom cultivation offers the potential for converting these residues into protein rich palatable food. The technology can also limit land and air pollution associated with burning agricultural waste into the environment.