Volume 10 Part 2 Article 42: Some Edible Mushrooms from the Tropics

Volume 10 Part 2 Article 42
Year 1979
Title: Some Edible Mushrooms from the Tropics
Author: M.H. Zoberi


Since medieval times, fungi have been used for gastronomical purposes. The ancients were interested in macrofungi mainly because of the toxic nature of some kinds of mushrooms such as Amanita muscaria, which has the power to produce intense excitement and hallucinations. During the last decade edible fungi have taken a reasonable major place in the tropics, and the study of these has entered on a new phase through the extensive utilization of waste carbohydrates and inorganic nitrogen salts, for conversion into edible and nutritious high quality protein.

In Nigeria, there is a good deal of interest for using fungi as food. Mushrooms play an important role in their everyday life, and many interesting stories have been associated with these (0S0, 1975). The stories sometimes reveal the mythical origin of many mushrooms. Their local names often play a role in determining their edibility and medicinal value. Many wild species of Termitomyces and other mushrooms such as Volvariella esculenta are commonly collected for eating and often sold in local bazaars. However, there have been occasional accidents leading to death through the consumption of poisonous species.

There is an enormous amount of edible fungi available in the tropics. About 25 species of good repute have been identified in Nigeria (Zoberi, 1972) which can be eaten safely. The most prized are Pleurotus, Termitomyces, Tricholoma and Volvariella. The best times for collecting these are April and May at the start of rainy season. When the weather gets too wet the specimens are usually found infested with maggots and certain mycophagistsand become unsafe for eating. I hope the following description may help to encourage people to learn to distinguish and cultivate some of the excellent edible mushrooms available in many tropical countries.

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