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Wild edible mushroom value chain for improved livelihoods in Southern Highlands of Tanzania.

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A survey was conducted to assess mycological knowledge and socio-economic benefits along the wild edible mushrooms value chain among Benna and Hehe ethnic groups in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. The mushroom hunters, collectors, processors and retailers from the local communities in Njombe and Iringa regions were interviewed. The information on indigenous mycological knowledge, collecting and retailing of wild edible mushrooms in Benna and Hehe communities were gathered. The wild edible mushrooms were collected in the Miombo woodland surrounding six villages during rainy season in January 2014. From the survey, mushroom collection and selling was gender oriented dominated by women at 70% and 93.5% respectively. Moreover, it was found that 30% of men were involved in collecting and only 6.5% in selling. About 45 species of wild edible mushrooms were collected mainly from Lactarius, Russula, Cantharellus and Amanita species. Mushroom collectors were able to collect 1000 to 1500 kilograms earning US $ 500 to 650 per season. Also, retailers were able to sell 750 to 800 kilograms, earning US $ 750 to 1000 per season. Generally, wild mushrooms collection and retailing can contribute to improved socioeconomic status, thus providing alternative employment and food security to rural minority especially women and elderly in Benna and Hehe communities in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
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Chelela, et al., 2014: Vol 2(8) 1 ajrc.journal@gmail.com
Wild edible mushroom value chain for improved livelihoods in Southern
Highlands of Tanzania
Baraka Luca Chelela, Musa Chacha and Athanasia Matemu*
The School of Life Science and Bio-Engineering,
The Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST),
P. o. Box 447, Arusha Tanzania.
*The author to whom correspondence should be sent: athyone@yahoo.com
ABSTRACT
A survey was conducted to assess mycological knowledge and socio-economic benefits along the wild
edible mushrooms value chain among Benna and Hehe ethnic groups in the Southern Highlands of
Tanzania. The mushroom hunters, collectors, processors and retailers from the local communities in
Njombe and Iringa regions were interviewed. The information on indigenous mycological knowledge,
collecting and retailing of wild edible mushrooms in Benna and Hehe communities were gathered. The
wild edible mushrooms were collected in the Miombo woodland surrounding six villages during rainy
season in January 2014. From the survey, mushroom collection and selling was gender oriented
dominated by women at 70% and 93.5% respectively. Moreover, it was found that 30% of men were
involved in collecting and only 6.5% in selling. About 45 species of wild edible mushrooms were
collected mainly from Lactarius, Russula, Cantharellus and Amanita species. Mushroom collectors
were able to collect 1000 to 1500 kilograms earning US $ 500 to 650 per season. Also, retailers were
able to sell 750 to 800 kilograms, earning US $ 750 to 1000 per season. Generally, wild mushrooms
collection and retailing can contribute to improved socioeconomic status, thus providing alternative
employment and food security to rural minority especially women and elderly in Benna and Hehe
communities in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
Key words: Wild edible mushrooms, value chain, Benna, Hehe and livelihoods
Running title: Wild edible mushrooms value chain for improved livelihoods of the Benna and Hehe
communities in Tanzania
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{Citation: Baraka Luca Chelela, Musa Chacha and Athanasia Matemu. Wild edible mushroom value
chain for improved livelihoods in Southern Highlands of Tanzania. American Journal of Research
Communication, 2014, 2(8): 1-14} www.usa-journals.com, ISSN: 2325-4076.
INTRODUCTION
Tanzania with its vast areas of woodland is having the diversity of the natural miombo ecosystems
which provide high potential of producing indigenous mushrooms (Bloesch and Mbago, 2008) edible
and inedible. Wild edible fungi have been collected and consumed by people for thousands of years.
Wild edible fungi are important source of food, income and ecological role by maintaining health of
the forest (Boa, 2004). In Tanzania, over 60 edible mushroom species have been identified (Bloesch
and Mbago, 2008; Tibuhwa, 2001; Härkönen, 2003), most of these are usually collected from the
wild during rainy season. Globally, there are 2327 recorded useful species; 2166 are edible of which
1069 species are used as food, with at least other 100 known food species lacking published evidence
(Boa, 2004). According to Mizuno (1995), Wasser (1995), Wasser et al. (1999) and Ferreira et al.
(2010), approximately 700 species of higher Basidiomycetes have been found to possess significant
pharmacological activities. Wild edible mushrooms are collected, consumed and sold in over 80
countries worldwide and amount collected each year is several tonnes with a minimum value of US $
2.0 billion (Boa, 2004). Mushrooms have long been valued as a high quality food with a pleasant
flavour and tasty, appealing texture, delicacy and healthy nutritious by different societies throughout
the world (Muruke et al., 2002. Mushrooms have a wide array of medicinally important compounds
that have anticancer and antiviral activity; offering great hope for the production of new drugs for
ailments like HIV/AIDS, Avian influenza and the many cancers that afflict humanity today (Kidukuli
et al., 2010). Wild edible fungi are an important source of income for communities and national
economies, and are especially valuable to rural people in the developing countries (Boa, 2004). The
diversity of the natural Miombo ecosystems in Tanzania provides the rural population with varied and
nutritious diet and potentially high standard of living due to mushroom trade (EC-FAO, 2010).
However, awareness of wild mushrooms as a potential source of income is very low particularly in
developing countries. Mushroom sector in the Asian countries is highly developed and contributes to
the forex while in most of the African countries; mushrooms are still collected in the wild using
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ethno-mycology hence under exploitation of mushrooms as a potential source of nutrients, medicinal
and income.
The Benna and Hehe are two ethnic groups found in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania practicing
wild edible mushroom hunting, collection and selling as one of their socio-economic activity
contributing to their wellbeing. Since mushroom farming is not a common practice in the area,
distinction on its edibility is usually done by using indigenous knowledge. In many parts of the world
mushroom identification depends much on folk taxonomy whereby the knowledge is being inherited
and transferred from one generation to another (Tibuhwa, 2012). Previously, it was reported that folk
taxonomy and general indigenous knowledge is limited among Benna and Hehe ethnic groups
(Tibuhwa 2013), resulting to local people rejecting some species that are edible. Several studies on the
description, biology, cultivation and nutritional status of many edible mushrooms in Tanzania have
been reported by (Mshandete, 2007; Bloesch and Mbago, 2008; Tibuhwa, 2011; Tibuhwa, 2011;
Tibuhwa, 2011; De Crop, 2012; Tibuhwa, 2012; Tibuhwa, 2012; Tibuhwa, 2012 and Tibuhwa, 2013).
Despite all the efforts done by other researchers, mushroom sector in Tanzania is still underexploited
to tape the potential of mushrooms as a source of income and socioeconomic development.
Contribution of wild mushrooms to the livelihoods of the rural communities has been given less
priority regardless of plenty edible wild mushroom species. The significance of wild edible fungi lies
with their extensive subsistence uses in developing counties, although this is an area where there are
still significant gaps in information (Boa, 2004). Thus, further study on the socioeconomic
contribution of wild edible mushroom value chain in the rural communities is necessary to give an
insight on the potential of wild edible mushrooms as a source of food and income. The present study
aimed at documenting some wild edible mushrooms species growing naturally in Njombe and Mufindi
districts, and assessing its socioeconomic benefits along the value chain among the Benna and Hehe
ethnic groups.
METHODOLOGY
Study site description and data acquisition
This study was conducted in Njombe and Mufindi districts in Njombe and Iringa regions in the
Southern Highlands of Tanzania. A total of 150 individuals were interviewed in the two districts. In
each district, three villages were selected based on the availability and higher consumption of wild
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mushrooms. In Njombe district, Nyombo, Ikuna and Matiganjola villages were selected whereas
Kikombo, Matanana and Nyololo villages were selected from Mufindi district. Also, wild mushroom
retailers in Njombe and Mafinga townships were involved. The inhabitants of this area are mainly
Benna and Hehe tribes engaged in subsistence agriculture, livestock keeping, mushroom hunting and
gathering among other socioeconomic activities. The study area composed of mixed forest where the
miombo woodland with Brachystegia and Uapaca spp. are dominant. A semi structured questionnaire
was used in a field survey to collect information on wild edible mushrooms value chain (hunting,
collection, preservation and retailing). Information on edibility, medicinal, preservation methods and
other uses was also collected. All wild edible mushrooms were collected in January, 2014. A total of
120 people from the six villages (20 individuals from each village) comprised of local mushroom
pickers, and 30 mushroom retailers (15 each) from Njombe and Mufindi townships where involved.
Data analysis
Demographic features and cross-relationships of the participants were evaluated descriptively using a
Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Program Version 20.0. Microsoft Excel (2010) was
used to calculate average income generated.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Wild edible mushrooms collection
Mushroom production is uneven throughout the year; their appearance in temperate forests is
restricted to the rain season where hunting and collection is mostly done. Collection of wild
mushrooms was done in January, 2014 to the nearby miombo woodland forests, fields, termite
mounts and forest plantations in Njombe and Mufindi districts depending on the type of mushroom.
Mushrooms are highly influenced by the type of vegetation that grows in Tanzania, and are collected
during rainy season (Mshandete and Cuff, 2007; 2008) with no specific harvesting methods (Boa,
2004). Mushroom gathering requires greater knowledge or understanding of the habitat, niche, and
morphology of useful mushrooms. Moreover, locating a particular species becomes more challenging
for gatherers usually forage in fixed paths or forest areas. World over, traditions on mushroom
collection do vary although generally now more people gather from the wild than before (Boa, 2004).
Mushroom gathering is associated with identification of the species to make sure that they forage a
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right one and not poisonous species. Folk taxonomy through traditional knowledge and experience is
usually used to identify edible mushrooms from poisonous. Tanzanians pick the traditional edible
mushrooms and reject all others and they pay no attention to the identification of inedible fungi
(Bloesch and Mbago, 2008). From the survey, it was found that knowledge on folk taxonomy was
being transmitted from parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends. Identification of species is
mostly done by looking on features such as color, texture, smell, substrate where it grows and
sometimes taste is used, naming of the species is done to keep memory and transfer the knowledge to
next generation. The same way of identifying edible mushrooms from poisonous was observed by
Adhikari (2004) in Nepal. It was observed that most of the species found in the same family were
named by a single traditional (vernacular) name, since morphologically they resemble to each other
hence unable to be differentiated by folk taxonomy. For example “Unyamikwe” was used to describe
mushrooms in family of Russulaceae like Russula roseovelata, Russula hiemisilvae and Russula
congoana (Table 1). Some difficulties in identifying and differentiating some species using folk
taxonomy were also reported by Ayodele et al. (2009; 2011) and Adhikari et al. (2006). The wild
edible mushrooms mostly hunted and collected by Benna and Hehe people are shown in Table 1
below.
Demographic characteristics and community involvement
Wild mushroom value chain is seen to be gender oriented dominated by women in collection (70%),
selling (93.5%), processing and preservation (98%) while men occupies only 30%, 6.5% and 2%
respectively (Table 2). Other researchers have reported that women are the key players in mushroom
market chain and ethno-mycology (Garibay-Orijel et al., 2012; Tibuhwa, 2013). Poor engagement of
men might be due to the belief that mushroom collection and selling is for the lowly and poor
minority especially women. In the rural areas of Njombe and Mufindi districts, women are usually
unemployed, dedicating themselves to household and subsistence activities. Mushroom collection and
selling is one of their sources of income and food, contributing to the food security in the
communities. Women are a central role on mushroom processing both for self-consumption and sale.
Also, the study showed that women own enormous traditional knowledge on mushroom folk
taxonomy and ecology. The study also revealed that, hunting and collection activities are dominated
by people of mid age especially those of 36 - 50 years (47%) as opposed to sellers 18 - 35 (50%), in
addition to few elders (collectors 13% and retailers 3.3%). It was also observed that, 79% of the
mushroom collectors and 83.3% of sellers had primary education respectively (Table 2). Similar
findings on age distribution were also reported by Tibuhwa (2013).
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Table 1: Edible wild mushroom species found in Njombe and Mufindi Districts
SN
Hehe local
name(s)
Benna local
name(s)
Scientific name
Habitat
1
Wikulwe
Not found
Termitomyces letustui
Cultivated fields, edges
of forests, miombo
woodlands
2
Witali
Not found
Termitomyces sigidensis
Termites mounts
3
Wigwingwi
Not found
Amanita tanzanica
Miombo woodlands
4
Wigwingwi(kahawi
a)
Not found
Amanita mafingensis
Miombo woodlands
5
Wigwingwi
Ugongoli or
Wigongoli
Amanita masasiensis
Miombo woodlands
6
Ulelema
Wilelemi
Amanita zambiana
Miombo woodlands
7
Wilelema
Wilelemi
Amanita loosi
Miombo woodlands
8
Unyasenga
Not found
Macrolepiota dolichaula
On dungs, cultivated
lands with cow dungs
9
Wigingili
Not found
Russula cellulata
Miombo woodlands
10
Unyamikwe
Unyambete
Russula roseovelata
Miombo woodlands
11
Unyamikwe
Not found
Russula congoana
Miombo woodlands
12
Unyamikwe
Not found
Russula hiemisilvae
Miombo woodlands
13
Wisikisa
Not found
Lactarius kabansus
Miombo woodlands
14
Wisimba
Not found
Lactarius edulis
Miombo woodlands
15
Wisogolo
Not found
Cantharellus congolensis
Miombo woodlands
16
Wisogolo
Not found
Cantharellus platyphllus
Miombo woodlands
17
Vidungwe
Widungu
Termitomyces
aurantiacus
Cultivated fields with
termites
18
Vidungwe
Widungu
Termitomyces striatus
Miombo woodlands
19
Not found
Widungu
Russula compressa
Miombo woodlands
20
Unyakigulu
Unyonso/twinyonso
Termitomyces
microcarpus
Termite mounts
21
Unyakuwemba
Wifimi
Lactarius densifolius
Miombo woodlands
22
Unyakuwemba
Wigulu
Lactarius luteolus
Miombo woodlands
23
Wisogolo
Unyamalagata
Cantharellus floridulus
Miombo woodlands
24
Wisogolo
Unyamalagata
Afrocantharellus
platyphyllus
Miombo woodlands
25
Not found
Wifindi
Cantharellus symoensis
Miombo woodlands
26
Wisogolo (Njano)
Wifindi (Njano)
Cantharellus
cyanoxanthus
Miombo woodlands
27
Chova
Not found
Termitomyces eurhizus
Miombo woodlands
28
Not found
Wimungulu or
umyamguhu
Lactarius volemoides
Miombo woodlands
29
Not found
Wipatwe
Cantharellus
tormentosus
Miombo woodlands
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Table 2: Demographic of mushroom collectors and retailers
Processing
(%)
Collectors/Hunters
(%)
Retailers/Sellers
(%)
Gender
98
70
93.5
2
30
6.5
Age
8
16.7
32
50
47
30
13
3.3
Education
8
0
79
83.3
9
16.7
4
0
Economic aspects of wild mushrooms
The economic contribution of different actors in the wild edible mushroom value chain is shown in
Table 3. The mushroom hunters collect 15 - 30 kgs per day and 1000 - 1500 kgs per season. The
average price for a kilogram of mushroom in villages is US $ 0.3 - 0.4. An average income of about
US $ 500 - 650 can be generated by a collector per season. In towns, the retailers could sell (bought
from collectors), an average of 20 to 45 kilograms per day and 750 to 800 kgs per season. The
average price of a kilogram of mushroom in town is US $ 0.5 - 0.6 and the total income generated
range from US $ 750 to 1000 per season (Table 3). It was also observed that not only fresh
mushrooms were sold in the market or along road sides but also dried mushrooms. A similar
observation was also reported by Mbago (2008). Mushroom retailing was also reported in Ruvuma
region where dealers were buying from rural areas or brokers and sell in Songea or Tunduru markets
at a much higher price (Mbago, 2008). According to Boa (2004), the global trade in wild edible fungi
has been estimated at US $ 2 billion. The true value, however, include the value of wild edible fungi
to the millions of the rural people around the world who gain benefits from consumption and selling.
However, these results on economic earnings from mushrooms are not far from what was reported by
Tibuhwa (2013).
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Table 3: Income earning by mushroom collectors and retailers
Mushroom
Quantity per
day (kgs)
Quantity per
season (kgs)
Average
price ($)
Average income
per season ($)
Collection/Hunting
15 - 30
1000 - 1500
0.3 - 0.4
500 - 650
Selling/Retailing
20 - 45
750 - 800
0.5 - 0.6
750 - 1000
Picture A: A mixture of Canthareceae mushroom species in Mafinga and Njombe markets.
Picture B: Russulaceae mushroom species collected in Nyombo village.
Mushroom edibility
The Southern Highlands of Tanzania have a rich diversity of wild mushrooms which might have been
contributed by the tropical forests, mostly Miombo woodlands, and higher rainfall. Mushrooms are
frequently collected by the local population, mainly for own consumption. A total of 29 species of
wild mushrooms were collected and identified. The commonly identified wild edible mushrooms
were in the genus of Cantharellus, Lactarius, Termitomyces, Amanita, Russula, Afrocantharellus and
Macrolepiota species. Most of the collected mushrooms were found to have vernacular names
commonly used in the area for easy identification. Despite having many edible wild mushroom
species (Table 1), wild inedible mushroom species were also abundant (Data not shown). Inedible
A
B
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mushrooms are considered to have no value and mostly regarded as poisonous. Additionally,
mushrooms with bad and chocking smell, sour or bitter taste, are also sometimes mistakenly
considered as inedible. Besides, about 5 species of mushrooms reported as inedible by the local
communities were identified as edible by a taxonomist, justifying that proper taxonomic identification
is very important. Local practices are typically based on the empirical evidence of edibility, though
local beliefs may falsely exclude edible species. Gaps in taxonomic knowledge are limiting further
utilization of wild edible fungi whereby local classification provide a useful guide to edible and ‘not
eaten’ species (these may be poisonous or not) (Boa, 2004). Combining both local and scientific
knowledge for mushroom identification may efficiently identify edible from poisonous mushrooms.
Otherwise, an intensive scientific study has to be done in order to verify their toxicity hence their
edibility, and maximize utilization of mushroom resources. Scientific identification provides a
powerful guide to properties of wild fungi and can help to clarify the edibility of species (Boa, 2004).
Mushroom preservation
Mushrooms are highly perishable and seasonal, available mostly during rainy season. Extension of
shelf life through different preservation methods is essential for value addition. Commonly used as
mushroom preservation methods are soaking (in fresh or cold water), salting, boiling and sun drying,
as well as smoking. In the study area, sun drying (65%) and boiling 35% were the commonly used
methods. Preservation is done mainly for home purposes only and little for selling nevertheless dried
mushrooms were also found being sold in the markets or along roadsides. Preservation may
substantially improve sensory and nutritional quality hence value addition to wild edible mushrooms.
Post-harvest processes of mushrooms are done for shelf life extension and enhanced marketability
(Boa, 2004). Mushroom preservation through boiling and drying was also reported by (Bloesch and
Mbago, 2008). Drying was used as mushroom preservation method along Selou-Niassa corridor
(Bloesch and Mbago, 2008). From the study, salting was found to be used is mostly for household use
only. Different mushrooms preservation methods were also reported by (Garibay-Orijel et al., 2012;
Tibuhwa, 2013).
Mushroom nutritional and medicinal information
From the study, it was found that about 96% of mushroom consumers were unaware of its nutritional
and medicinal values despite of its delicious taste as opposed to only 4% with partial understanding.
Mushrooms are regarded as alternative food to meat. Ayodele et al. (2009; 2011), reported a
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knowledge gap on the health benefits of mushrooms nevertheless of its potential as substitute for
meat, appealing taste, palatability, soup thickener and routine consumption were highly recognized.
According to Baraza et al. (2007), Barros (2008) and Ergonul et al. (2012), mushrooms are low in fat,
good source of fiber, rich in digestible protein, low in simple carbohydrates, and rich in high
molecular weight polysaccharides among other nutritional constituents. Also, they contain
unsaturated fatty acids, which constitute over 70% of the total content of fatty acids and low in
calories, essentials fatty acids, and high in vegetable proteins, minerals and vitamins. In addition,
mushrooms are also rich source of secondary metabolites which may be potential for nutraceuticals,
pharmacological and medicinal applications. Dembitsky et al. (2010) and Kidukuli et al. (2010)
reported that, some mushrooms have therapeutic activity which is useful in preventing diseases such
as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, atherosclerosis and cancer. Therefore, raising awareness to the
communities on the potentials of mushrooms as source of nutrition and medicinal values is very
important. Mushrooms, if well addressed in the society, are potential source of food and nutrition
security specifically in developing countries.
Challenges of mushroom collection activity
The study also reports the challenges mushroom hunters and collectors are facing to make this
activity less effective. Amongst many, disappearance of once available mushroom species, human
activities such as farming, overgrazing has contributed to degradation of the ecosystem as well as
annual fire outbreak in the environment. Similar observations were report by Akpaja et al. (2003) and
Okhuoya et al. (2010) among the Igbo people in Nigeria. Wild animals have also been seen as a
threat to most of women and children during mushroom hunting and collection. This reduces the
output per day which has direct impact on the income generated. Mushroom poisoning is another
challenge since it is very difficult to differentiate between edible and poisonous mushrooms as some
of mushrooms in the same families are very similar. The same observation on mushroom poisoning
as a challenge to mushroom collectors was also reported by Tibuhwa (2013).
CONCLUSION
From the study, 29 species of edible wild mushrooms were collected and identified. Mushroom
hunting, collection and selling was mainly done by women. Mostly, folk taxonomy verbally
transferred from one generation to another was used to locally identify edible from poisonous
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mushrooms. Preservation of mushrooms was mainly through soaking, drying boiling and salting. The
wild edible mushroom value chain plays a vital role to improving livelihoods of local people involved
at every stage. The wild edible mushrooms positively contributed to income generation in Benna and
Hehe communities. Additionally, edible wild mushrooms can serves as a vital source of nutritious
food and if well exploited can contribute to food and nutritional security especially in rural areas.
Sustainable conservation of forests can also be achieved through proper harvesting methods to ensure
continuous supply of mushrooms. Awareness on proper harnessing, processing and preserving should
be provided to communities in rural areas where mushrooms are seasonally harvested as source of
income generation and food. Mushroom’s domestication and farming should be highly prioritized for
sustainable production.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors are thankful to the Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) of Tanzania
through the Nelson Mandela Africa Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) for financial
support. Also, the authors are thankful to Dr. Donatha Tibuhwa (Department of Molecular Biology
and Biotechnology, University of Dar-Es-Salaam) for taxonomical identification of the wild
mushroom species.
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... Furthermore, improved drying of fresh mushrooms considering hygenic aspects will extend their preservation and will respond to quality requirements of the market. Proper drying of fresh mushrooms will also increase the self-consumption during the dry season of this highly nutritional diet in benefit of the food and nutrition security of the local communities (see also Chelela et al. 2014). Being rich in proteins and vitamins, mushrooms are a potentially valuable source of proteins, particularly for the poor section of the population (Kivaisi 2007). ...
... Additional surveys in Mlele FR and Rungwa FR will certainly confirm and complement the current list of 60 species. In a similar study Chelela et al. (2014) reported 45 wild edible mushrooms collected by Benna and Hehe communities in Njombe and Iringa regions in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania. ...
... According to first market visits and interviews with mushroom sellers at Tabora and Sikonge markets the demand of fresh and dried mushrooms is confirmed and more mushrooms could be sold if more regularly available. Chelela et al. (2014) Quality standards have to be respected for successfully marketing wild edible mushrooms. Only fresh and undamaged mushrooms or properly dried mushrooms free of dirt / dust should be properly packaged for the market. ...
Technical Report
Full-text available
Inventory of wild mushrooms in Miombo woodlands in Western Tanzania; assessment of marketing potential of wild mushrooms.
... Wild mushrooms gathering or hunting by other Tanzanian ethnic groups are gender-oriented particularly by women for food and commercial purposes (Tibuhwa, 2013(Tibuhwa, , 2018. Wild mushroom activities including collection, selling, processing, and preservation are dominated by women, in Njombe and Mufindi (Chelela et al., 2014). The same was observed in the Namtumbo district; where women are the main wild mushroom collectors and hunters. ...
Article
Full-text available
The present study focused on documentation of wild mushroom species used by the local communities in the Selous-Niassa corridor in Namtumbo district, Ruvuma region, Tanzania. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected by interviewing 50 local informants from different localities in the Selous-Niassa wildlife corridor in Namtumbo district. The data documented include types of wild mushroom species, taxonomical information, social-demographic information, indigenous knowledge and uses. The majority of participants in the hunting of wild mushrooms were females aged between 31 and 45 years who were literate peasants with primary education only. The knowledge about edibility of wild mushroom species was mainly transferred to others by old women whereby those eaten by insects and wild animals or do not form much foam during cooking were considered edible. A total of 32 edible and inedible wild mushroom species belonging to thirteen genera and eleven families were documented. Among the documented wild mushrooms, 34.38% were edible, 25% were medicinal and edible, 31.25% did not have known uses, 6.25% were medicinal only and 3.12% were poisonous. The fidelity level (FL) and informant consensus factor (ICF) of the 32 collected wild mushroom species ranged from 50 to 100% and 0.33 to 0.91, respectively. The documentation of wild mushroom species in communities is important for conservation, transfer of knowledge and information regarding their uses across one generation to another. This study provides information that may, in the future, be used for cultivation, pharmacological, and drug discovery studies to improve public healthcare.
... These are commonly called mushrooms or toadstools (Webster and Weber, 2007). Mushrooms are well known as the main food resource and in achieving nutritional security (Tibuhwa, 2012;Chelela et al., 2014;Ekhlas et al., 2018 andEkhlas et al., 2020). They represent an imperative part of the links in the food web, moreover, their major roles in the environment as pathogens and decomposers and are vital in forest and grassland ecosystems alike. ...
Article
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Baghdad province has a rich diversity of wild mushrooms. This trial is the first one to study their properties and characterization. The current study was conducted to distinguish a number of wild mushrooms collected from two locations at Baghdad province from 2017 to 2019. Twelve samples were collected from different area locations to Baghdad province district of Iraq and identified eleven different species. According to the key features (photograph, color, stalk length, stalk diameter, and cap diameter), Indigenous characterization was completed in the field, while different key references such as monographs, manuals, and databases were implemented to do conventional characterization. The wild mushrooms samples were: Pleurotus fuscus, Agaricus bisporus (white), Pleurotus floridanus, Agaricus nevoi, Agaricus subperonatus, Agaricus bisporus (brown), Pleurotus ostreatus, Agaricus heterocystic, Agaricus bellanniae, Agaricus crocodilinus, Agaricus litoralis and Pisolithus albus. Based on the indigenous information eleven fungi samples are to be edible, while Pisolithus albus was classified as medicinal fungi. Taxonomic studies of fungi samples according to DNA molecular diagnosis have been shown that the11 species were belonging to 3 genera,3 families, and 2 orders, that to be essential for perfect wild mushrooms classification and to prevent human deaths from the consumption of poisonous ones. The highest enzymatic efficacy at fungi mycelium on this study was to cellulase enzyme from P. floridanus, Agaricus litoralis, Agaricus crocodilinus, and Pisolithus albus. The highest enzymatic efficacy at fungi mycelium was to protease enzyme from Agaricus bellanniae,Agaricus crocodilinus, Agaricus litoralis, while was not any efficacy to xylanase enzyme and was noted different efficacy to L-Asparaginase enzyme.
... Lactarius, Russula, Cantharellus, and Amanita species are commonly collected and consumed among Benna and Hehe communities inhabiting southern highlands of Tanzania. These people earn 500-650 USD per collection season from 1000 to 1500 kg mushrooms, while retailers make 750-1000 USD per season from 750 at 800 kg of mushrooms (Chelela et al. 2014 . Several edible species are considered medicinal or to be a medicinal food that helps in curing a number of ailments being rich in an array of nutrients (Bautista-González and Moreno-Fuentes 2014). ...
Book
This book spotlights macrofungi with health-promising properties, which mainly belong to Basidiomycota (Agaricomycotina) and Ascomycota (Pezizomycotina). Macrofungi or higher fungi are ascomycetous and basidiomycetous mushrooms forming conspicuous, epigeous, or hypogeous sporocarps and are large enough to be seen by the naked eye. The consumption of wild macrofungi by man goes back 13,000 years. Macrofungi vary in structure and reproduction and occur in a wide range of habitats in different ecogeographic zones of the world. Ethnomycological surveys across the globe reveal the food value and therapeutic significance of wild species in diet and folk medicine. Scientific research proves the nutritional and pharmacological properties of these macrofungi. The latter are consecrated with a wealth of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fatty acids, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins contributing to their food value. The sporocarps/cultured mycelia or cultured broths of these fungi are rich in numerous high and low molecular weight bioactive constituents. These bioactive components include polysaccharides, proteins, fatty acids, proteoglycans, terpenoids, and phenolics, accounting for a broad spectrum of pharmacological activities such as antioxidant, antitumor, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antifungal, immunomodulatory, antimalarial, and antiviral. Several health-promoting products of macrofungal origin are available in market in the form of tablets, capsules, syrups, pastes, and powders. In spite of huge benefits of macrofungi, these are often overlooked as far as conservation efforts are concerned. Many macrofungal species are red listed by IUCN and need immediate attention to conserve and ensure sustainable use of this inexpensive natural treasure with huge health benefits. In this book, we endeavored to highlight the future prospects of macrofungi and tried to shed light on the taxonomy, ecology, ethnomycology, nutraceutical composition, bioactive active and pharmacological activities, commercialization, and conservation. Some information on cultivation and toxigenic macrofungi is also provided.
... It gives a view of the proportionate returns of about 30% (0.298) to the total household income of residents in Ihiagwa community. No less than significant income are being returned to households from use of forest products especially mushroom (Baraka et al., 2014;Mattiaet et al., 2010). Unarguably, therefore, this research position may necessarily be inferred to other mushroomgrowing regions and locations especially in Nigeria and to some extent Third World/developing countries. ...
Article
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Different locations have differing geographies and potentials which can support uniquely different opportunities for growth, investment and entrepreneurship. Public sector interest in development has regrettably been skewed towards non-renewable resources. Ihiagwa, a rural community in Owerri, South East, Nigeria, enjoys favourable geography supporting production of significant quantities of edib le mushrooms (Agaricus comprestris Linn. and Pleurotus ostreatus Jacq.). Qualitative research carried out across households revealed that every 161 households in the area can potentially gather about 370kg of mushroom annually which potentially return about 30% (estimated at N855,081 per annum) to household income. Result of regression analysis showed that returns from mushroom are in the ratio of 1:2.3 to total househ old income providing huge opportunities for socioeconomic sustenance, value-addition and investment. Rural sector development cannot be potentially driven and advanced for without due consideration of the prospects from community endowments and local content ac ross different geographical locations. [International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Development Studies (IJEDS) 2019; 3(1) : 7-13]
... Though partially accepted this mushroom production as a subset of agriculture, it is underexplored for economic benefits compared to other sects of agriculture in many African nations (Chelela et al., 2014). In spite of huge global market potential mushroom cultivation often neglected in agricultural policies (Sitta and Floriana, 2008;Nchuchuwe and Adejuwon, 2012). ...
Research
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Mushroom' refers to the fruit body of saprophytic fungi which are rich in protein, minerals and vitamin-B complex. The current generation demands food that is low in calories, carbohydrates and fats and preferably high in vegetable proteins. If such a product also contains amount of vitamins and minerals and has a characteristic taste, it will be able to meet a growing demand, provided it is regularly available. Keeping the food security in mind, developing countries are cultivating mushrooms to meet the hunger of many people. In Eritrea, mushroom production is one of the budding industries to fetch economic revenues as well as providing nutritious food. Establishing this project and chosen the ones that can easily be cultivated in rural areas by using available agricultural wastes and with affordable technology. It is, therefore, the right time to start a 'unit on mushroom cultivation' in the campus of Hamelmalo Agricultural College, Eritrea with the objectives of transfer the technology to the rural farmers of the zoba; to create awareness with regard to the importance of mushrooms as food and to reuse different agricultural wastages as a substrate.
... Though partially accepted this mushroom production as a subset of agriculture, it is underexplored for economic benefits compared to other sects of agriculture in many African nations (Chelela et al., 2014). In spite of huge global market potential mushroom cultivation often neglected in agricultural policies (Sitta and Floriana, 2008;Nchuchuwe and Adejuwon, 2012). ...
Article
Full-text available
Mushroom’ refers to the fruit body of saprophytic fungi which are rich in protein, minerals and vitamin-B complex. The current generation demands food that is low in calories, carbohydrates and fats and preferably high in vegetable proteins. If such a product also contains amount of vitamins and minerals and has a characteristic taste, it will be able to meet a growing demand, provided it is regularly available. Keeping the food security in mind, developing countries are cultivating mushrooms to meet the hunger of many people. In Eritrea, mushroom production is one of the budding industries to fetch economic revenues as well as providing nutritious food. Establishing this project and chosen the ones that can easily be cultivated in rural areas by using available agricultural wastes and with affordable technology. It is, therefore, the right time to start a ‘unit on mushroom cultivation’ in the campus of Hamelmalo Agricultural College, Eritrea with the objectives of transfer the technology to the rural farmers of the zoba; to create awareness with regard to the importance of mushrooms as food and to reuse different agricultural wastages as a substrate.
... Rural area have more forest coverage compared to urban areas. Previous studies have shown that depletion of ethno mycological knowledge may happen when people move to urban areas from rural villages [14]. Urbanization and land integration are two significant reasons that lead to the instant loss of their native knowledge from one generation to the next [15]. ...
Article
Full-text available
During the present study total of 19 families including 40 species were recorded enlisted in Table 1. The highest number of wild edible mushroom species recorded was of the Pleurotaceae family (Pleurotus pulmonarius, P. giganteus, P. tuberregium, P. djamor var. djamor, and P. djamor var. roseus). The second highest number of species recorded was from the Polyporaceae family (Lentinus sajor-caju, L. squarrosulus, and Panus lecomtei). All three species are white rot fungi with distant or crowded lamellae (as in Agaricales). Auriculariaceae family also comprises three species (Auricularia polythrica, Auricularia auricular-judae and Auricularia sp. 1) which are all edible. Among 40 wild edible mushrooms, only five were reported for medicinal uses. These mushrooms are Pleurotus tuber-regium, Auricularia sp., Xylaria sp., Lignosus sp. and Schizophyllum commune. The rare species of Termitomyces eurhizae (Lyophyllaceae) and Hygrocybe miniata (Hygrophoraceae) from lowland forests was found in this study. It is the first reported study from District Haripur. Local people were having very little knowledge on mushrooms. This will be helpful for the local community and researchers
Chapter
Ethnomycology is a subject of concern and spotlights the cultural significance and history of uses of macrofungi in human life (Dugan 2011; Brown 2019). Ethnomycological surveys add to our knowledge of various practices involving macrofungi by the locals and are beneficial in a better valorization of their uses (Guissou et al. 2014). Ethnomycological investigations help to decide which species is better to cultivate by conveying information regarding its benefits provided to the locals, unveil the cultural differences among communities with respect to the uses of the species, and also play significant role in the management and conservation plans to save the species involving the locals (Garibay-Orijel et al. 2007). For the past few decades, tribal people are losing their tradition and culture with increase in deforestation, urbanization, and exodus and integration of tribals into urban society (Lachure 2012). Therefore, it becomes important to collect, preserve, and transmit ethnomycological information to the future generations making them aware of the use value of macrofungi and for innovations in the field of mycology. The mycophilic societies/cultures in Greek, Rome, Egypt, China, and Russia collect and use wild fungi as food, in ethnomedicine, and to perform religious rituals (Miles and Chang 2004). In Finland, Italy, Spain, and the United Republic of Tanzania, the opinion towards wild fungi varies even among different parts of the same country (Härkönen et al. 1994; Härkönen 1998). Russians have deep passion for wild fungi evidenced by various sayings. The Estonians describe this Russian passion as “Where there is a mushroom coming up, there is always a Russian waiting for it.” In Finnish, Karelia, there is a popular saying “Shouting like Russians in a mushroom forest.” Russians are famous for hunting fungi at every weekend (Villarreal and Perez-Moreno 1989; Filipov 1998). In mycophobic countries like Britain, people are afraid of consuming them (Dyke and Newton 1999). However, this fear is disappearing, and the use of macrofungi is expanding because of immigrants from mycophilic regions. In Guatemala, people ignored B. edulis but later started consuming it (Flores et al. 2002). Macrofungi always enticed man with their beautiful color and form. People inhabiting different regions of the world consume macrofungi in different ways (Table 4.1). Archaeological records indicate association of edible species of macrofungi with humans living 13,000 years ago in Chile (Rojas and Mansur 1995). The eating of wild macrofungi is reported for the first time from China several hundred years back before the birth of Christ (Aaronson 2000). The use of fungi as human food is evident from the reference of a desert truffle, Terfezia arenaria, in the bible as “bread from heaven” and “manna of the Israelites” (Pegler 2002). Edible taxa are known for their delicious taste, exotic aroma, and pleasing flavor. Several species have mythological significance related to their growth and collection. The Gaddang people in the Philippines think that spontaneous lightening promotes fungal growth (Lazo et al. 2015). In West Bengal (India), collection of mushrooms is done on full moon days and new moon days (Dutta and Achariya 2014). The Mexican Indians have mythological thinking that hallucinogenic mushrooms are mediators with God, while Nahum Aztecs considered mushrooms as teonanacatl, meaning God’s flesh (Singh 1999). In certain parts of the world, macrofungi have ludic value. The children of different communities in Mexico use sporocarps of Calvatia and Pisolithus species as balls and projectiles (Hernández-Santiago et al. 2016). Adhikari et al. (2005) conducted an ethnomycological survey in the vicinities of Lumle and Kathmandu Valley of Nepal and gathered information about the culinary uses of 18 macrofungi, medicinal uses of 8 species, and utilization of 3 species for other purposes. In North Central Nigeria, majority of natives consume macrofungi for their nutritional, palatability, and medicinal characteristics (Ayodele et al. 2009). Kimn and Song (2014) recorded 38 species of mushrooms belonging to 33 genera and 22 families (mainly Tricholomataceae, Pleurotaceae, Polyporaceae, and Hymenochaetaceae) which are used in 158 types of practices by the tribal communities in Korea. This report shows 24 ways to cook mushrooms such as soups, teas, simmering, roasting, etc. in addition to their medicinal uses. In Gorakhpur Forest Division of Uttar Pradesh (India), the tribals and forest dwellers use Termitomyces species as food as well as for medicinal purposes (Srivastava et al. (2011). Fourteen macrofungal genera classified in 11 families and 7 orders have been collected and identified from different habitats (semidesert, gardens, park) associated with decaying roots of dead trees and some under the living trees in Qatar. These macrofungi mainly include truffles, e.g., Phaeangium lefebvrei, Terfezia claveryi, Tirmania nivea, etc. (Al-Thani 2010). Majangir tribe and Wacha inhabitants of Southwestern Ethiopia collect, wash, chop, and use fresh mushrooms in the preparation of stew and soup. People here consider mushrooms as supplement or alternative to meat or fish (Tuno 2001; Teferi et al. 2013). Dutta and Achariya (2014) conducted an ethnomycological survey in West Bengal, India, where the locals and tribals use 34 species of macrofungi of which 31 species are edible and 5 are of medicinal significance, while some of these species solve both the purposes. The inner Baduy people in Cikartawana hamlet, Korea, consume 12 edible macrofungi either fresh or dried in elaborated stew such as soup, steamed, or stir fried (Khastini et al. 2019). In Menge District, Asosa Zone, Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia, 20 edible and medicinal mushroom species belonging to 10 genera and 6 families have been identified. Of these, 15 species have been reported to be edible including Termitomyces schimperi ranked as first followed by T. le-testui, T. microcarpus, and T. eurhizus (Sitotaw et al. 2020). In India, the edible and medicinal practices of mushrooms are quite common dating back to 1700–1100 BC (Wasson 1971). Edible mushrooms have been used in different states of India such as Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh (Baruah et al. 1971; Sing and Sing 1993; Sing et al. 2002; Sarma et al. 2010; Tanti et al. 2011). The most commonly consumed species in these regions belong to the genera Agaricus, Auricularia, Boletus, Cantharellus, Coprinus, Lactarius, Lentinus, Lycoperdon, Morchella, Ramaria, Russula, Schizophyllum, Termitomyces, Tricholoma, etc. (Choudhary et al. 2015). An ethnomycological survey revealed the use of 12 edible macrofungal species, namely, Agaricus campestris, Helvella compressa, Morchella conica, M. esculenta, M. deliciosa, Ramaria botrytis, Lactarius deliciosus, Rhizopogon vulgaris, Sparassis crispa, Gyromitra sp., Hygrophorus sp., and Lycoperdon sp., which are cooked and eaten as food by the local tribal people in Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh (India). Out of these, Morchella species are highly prized and traded in the markets between Rs.8,000 and 12,000/kg (Chauhan et al. 2014).
Article
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Mushrooms have had a long association with humankind and have great biological and economic effects. This study aimed to record ethnomycological and nutritional analysis of some edible mushrooms from the Western Himalayas (Neelum Valley), Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan. Mushrooms from different taxonomical and ecological groups were collected and properly identified with the help of the available literature: Morchella esculenta, M. crassipes, M. elata, M. conica, Pleurotus ostreatus, Lycoperdon gemmatum, Helvella crispa, Tricholoma megnivelare, Gyrometra esculenta, Agaricus campestris, Hydnum imbricatum, and Sparassis crispa. The local communities are familiar with the morphological features, habitats, and qualities of these mushrooms. Ethnomycological data were collected through the use of a questionnaire; we found that these species have great medicinal value against different ailments. Four species (A. campestris, H. imbricatum, P. ostreatus, and S. crispa) were selected for nutritional analysis (proteins, fats, fiber, and moisture) on the basis of their frequent use in the study area. The largest amounts of protein (1.627 and 1.493 mg/mL) were found in H. imbricatum and S. crispa, respectively. The largest amount of fiber was found in P. ostreatus (14%); S. crispa contains the largest amount of fat (12.7%).
Book
Full-text available
Wild edible fungi are collected for food and to earn money in more than 80 countries. There is a huge diversity of different types, from truffles to milk-caps, chanterelles to termite mushrooms, with more than 1100 species recorded during the preparation of this book. A small group of species are of economic importance in terms of exports, but the wider significance of wild edible fungi lies with their extensive subsistence uses in developing countries. They provide a notable contribution to diet in central and southern Africa during the months of the year when the supply of food is often perilously low. Elsewhere they are a valued and valuable addition to diets of rural people. Commercial harvesting is an important business in countries such as Zimbabwe, Turkey, Poland, the USA, North Korea and Bhutan. The export trade is driven by a strong and expanding demand from Europe and Japan and is predominantly from poor to rich countries. This is good for local businesses and collectors, providing important cash income that pays for children to go to school and helps to reduce poverty in areas where the options for earning money are limited. Local markets around the world reveal a widespread though smaller individual trade in an extensive range of species. Though difficult to measure compared to the more visible export of wild edible fungi, local trade is of considerable value to collectors and increases the supply of food to many areas of weak food security. Collection and consumption within countries varies from the extensive and intensive patterns of China to more restricted use by indigenous people in South America. Substantial quantities are eaten through personal collections that may go unrecorded and their contribution to diet is substantially higher than previously indicated. The nutritional value of wild edible fungi should not be under-estimated: they are of comparable value to many vegetables and in notable cases have a higher food value. Wild edible fungi play an important ecological role. Many of the leading species live symbiotically with trees and this mycorrhizal association sustains the growth of native forests and commercial plantations in temperate and tropical zones. The saprobic wild edible fungi, though less important in terms of volumes collected and money earned from local sales, are important in nutrient recycling. The saprobic species are the basis for the hugely valuable global business in cultivated mushrooms, currently valued at around US$23 billion each year. This is an increasing source of income for small-scale enterprises in developing countries. Wild edible fungi are one of a number of non-wood forest products (NWFP) that have increased in importance as logging bans and a reduction in wood-based forestry activities have declined. They are one of the most valuable NWFP with much potential for expansion of trade, but there are also challenges in the integration of their management and sustainable production as part of multiple use forests. There are concerns about the impact of excessive harvesting which require better data on yields and productivity and a closer examination of collectors and local practices. Closer cooperation between forest managers and those using wild edible fungi is needed and suggestions are made on how this might be achieved. There is a strong emphasis on subsistence uses of wild edible fungi and their importance to rural people in developing countries though this is an area where there are still significant gaps in information. There is also significant commercial harvesting in developed countries, such as the USA and Canada and in the emerging economies of eastern Europe, for example Poland and Serbia. However, countries in the North are of greater significance to wild edible fungi as a destination for exports and as a source of scientific expertise, especially in mycology (the study of fungi). This scientific expertise is increasingly being applied to help achieve the major development goals which include poverty alleviation and sustainable use of natural resources. Real progress has been and continues to be made in the roles that wild edible fungi contribute towards these goals.
Article
Full-text available
The Serengeti-Mara ecosystem (SME) extends on both sides of Tanzania and Kenya. It comprises a unique and highly conserved ecosystem in the world. In spite of the importance of macro-fungi in maintaining and promoting productivity by enhancing nutrient cycling, researchers in the SME has been neglecting them. This work inventoried macrofungi in the drier and wetter side of SME based on 3 land use types: Crop land, woodland and grassland in protected and unprotected area, during both dry and wet season. The method based on fruit body recording which included fungi taxonomic field work and documents the macrofungi species presence. It also included analysis using diversity species indices for comparisons in terms of species diversity and richness across the habitats. A total of 92 species of macro-fungi distributed in 17 families and 33 genera were encountered. Most of these taxa (55.4%) were found in Tanzanian side while 44.5% were found in Kenyan side. Macro-fungi species of the family Lyophyllaceae (23%), Agaricaceae (21%) and Polyporaceae (12%) were the most commonly represented taxa in the ecosystems. Woodland habitat recorded the highest number of macro-fungi species (47%), followed by grassland (37%) while only few species were encountered in the agricultural farms (16%). The wet region recorded significantly high macro-fungi species compared to dry region. The Reyni diversity ordering showed tremendous decreases in species diversity in plots outside the park compared to those found inside the park. This result implies that disturbance affects myco-biota diversity which calls for the need of conservation and modification of agro-ecosystems. Introducing agro-forestry ectomycorrhiza tree species can transform the agro-ecosystems to mimic natural ecosystems and be an alternative source of mushroom resources.
Article
Full-text available
The fatty acids of five wild edible mushroom species (Agrocybe cylindracea, Coprinm comatus, Lactarius deliciosns, Suillus collinitus and Tricholoma myomyces) collected from different regions from Anatolia were determined. The fatty acids were identified and quantified by gas chromatography and studied using fruit bodies. Fatty acid composition varied among species. The dominant fatty acid in fruit bodies of all mushrooms was cis-linoleic acid (18: 2). Percentage of cis-linoleic acid in species varied from 36.29-66.72%. The other major fatty acids were, cis-oleic, palmitic and stearic acids, respectively. Fatty acids analysis of the mushrooms showed that the unsaturated fatty acids were at higher concentrations than saturated fatty acids.
Article
The suitability of using DNA techniques in the determination of relatedness of mushroom fruiting bodies to isolated mycelia was examined. Nine isolates of edible mushroom mycelia of general Oudemansiella, Coprinus and Pleurotus were identified using fruiting bodies as references. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) in conbination with Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RLFP) analyses were carried out on fruiting bodies and mycelia of the isolates. The internally transcribed spacer region (ITS) and ribosomal RNA gene (rDNA) was amplified using ITS1 and ITS4 primers. The RLFP analysis was carried out on the regions amplified by PCR from fruiting bodies and the mycelia was established by looking at DNA fragment band sizes and patterns. Banding patterns and fragment sizes of DNA obtained from mycelia and their corresponding fruiting bodies were identical and characteristic for the species. Using this technique, it was possible to sort out a case of mistaken identity of Oudemansiella fruiting bodies, which were interchanged with another mushroom specimen during packing. The method is fast, accurate, and could be used for routine screening of edible mushrooms of Tanzania for taxonomical purposes. For the latter purpose, it is required that the RFLP database of taxonomically known species is in place. Tanzanian Journal of Science Vol. 28(1) 2002: 115-128
Article
Efforts are being made in Tanzania to promote mushroom cultivation, and identification of abundantly available plant biomass residues appropriate for growing mushrooms is part of the efforts. This study investigated the suitability of water hyacinth as a bulk substrate for growing a newly domesticated local oyster mushroom, Pleurotus flabellatus. The performance of the mushroom was investigated under ambient temperature and relative humidity (RH) regimes of 18-25/27-29 oC and 55-85/78-93%, respectively. The growth cycle of the mushroom was completed in 40 days with three and four flushes respectively. At the higher temperature and RH regime, the mushroom grew faster and the first flush was harvested at the 13th day after substrate inoculation with a Biological Efficiency (B.E.) of 84%, whereas the first harvest was done on the 19th day after inoculation at the lower temperature and RH regime with a B.E. of 53%. Substrate total fibre loss at the end of the growth cycle was in the range of 31-40%, and cellulose the most utilized fraction, decreased by 35-48%. The rates of fibre loss increased over time during the mushroom growth and were highest during the first and second flush during which about 80% of the total mushroom yield were obtained. Water hyacinth shoots proved to be a good substrate for growing the local oyster mushroom at ambient environmental conditions. Tanz. J. Sci. Vol.29(2) 2003: 11-18