Cultivation of edible mushrooms in India is recent origin, though methods of cultivation for some were known for many years. The important developments in the cultivation of edible mushrooms are as below:
1886 :Some specimens of mushrooms were grown by N.W. Newton and exhibited at the annual show of Agriculture, Horticulture Society of India.
1886-87:Dr. B.C. Roy of the Calcutta Medical College carried out chemical analysis of the local mushrooms prevalent in caves or mines.
1908:A thorough search of edibles mushrooms was Instituted by Sir David Rain.
1921:Bose was successful in culturing two Agaricus on a sterilized dung media. Details of which were published in the Indian Science Congress held at Nagpur during 1926.
1939-45:Attempts on experimental cultivation of paddy straw mushroom (Volvariella) were first undertaken by the Deptt. of Agriculture, Madras.
1941:Padwick reported successful cultivation of Agaricus bisporus from various countries but without much success in India.
1947:Thomas et.al. gave the details of cultivation of paddy straw mushroom (V. diplasia) in Madras. Asthana reported better yield of paddy straw mushroom by adding red powdered dal to the beds. He suggested April-June as the most suitable period for culturing this mushroom in central provinces and also carried out the chemical analysis of this mushroom.
1961:A scheme entitled “Development of mushroom cultivation in “Himachal Pradesh” was started at Solan by the H.P. Govt. in collaboration with ICAR. This was the first serious attempt on cultivation of A. bisporus in the country.
1962:Bano et.al. obtained increased yield of Pleurotus species on paddy straw.
1964:Cultivation of A. bisporus on experimental basis was started by CSIR and state Govt. at Srinagar in J. & K.
1965:Dr. EFK Mantel, F.A.O., Mushroom Expert, guided and assisted Deptt. of Agriculture for construction of a modern spawn laboratory and a fully air-conditioned mushroom house. Research on evaluation of different strains and use of various agriculture wastes and organic manures and fertilizers for preparing synthetic compost were undertaken. Dr. Mantel’s consultancy concluded after a period of 7 years.
1974:Dr. WA Hayes F.A.O., Mushroom Expert guided in further improving the method of compost preparation. Pasteurization and management of important parameters in the mushroom house. New Compost formulations, casing materials and important parameters like nitrogen content in the compost, moisture in the casing soil, air movement and maintenance of proper environmental factors were also standardized which raised the mushroom yields from 7 to 14 kg/m2.
1977:A 1.27 crore, Mushroom Development Project was lunched under the U.N.D.P. by the Deptt. of Horticulture (H.P.) wherein the services of Mr. James Tunney were made available. He got a bulk pasteurization chamber constructed and made available ready compost and casing soil to the growers of H.P. the UNDP Project was concluded during 1982 and since then Deptt. of Horticulture (H.P.) is running the project.
1982:The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) sanctioned the creation of National Centre for Mushroom research and Training (NCMRT) during VI Plan on Oct. 23, 1982 with the objectives of conducting research on problems of mushroom production, preservation and utilization and to impart training to scientists, teachers, extension workers and interested growers. NCMRT started functioning w.e.f. 1983.
The All India Co-ordinated Mushroom Improvement Project (AICMIP) was sanctioned by Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) during the VI Plan w.e.f. 1st April, 1983. The six centre initially sanctioned are located at G.B. Pant University of Agric. & Tech., Pantnagar (Uttarakhand); P.A.U. Ludhiana (Pb.); TNAU, Coimbatore (TN); B.C.K.V.V.; Kalyani (W.B.); MPAU, College of Agriculture, Pune (MS) and C.S. Azad Univ. of Agric. & Tech., Kanpur (U.P.). In subsequent years Kanpur and Kalyani centres have been deleted and IGKVV, Raipur (MP) and NDUA&T, Faizabad (U.P.) has been added.