The Biology and Cultivation of Edible Mushrooms

The Biology and Cultivation of Edible Mushrooms

This book focuses on the biology and cultivation of edible mushrooms. It’s the perfect reference for beginners and advanced mushroom growers.

The book also includes recipes, photos, and detailed instructions on how to grow edible mushrooms. The author’s clear and concise style will make mushroom cultivation easy for anyone.

Edible mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of microscopic fungi. In addition to growing in the wild, mushrooms can be commercially cultivated or implanted under controlled conditions.

Before the 1970s, the majority of  mushrooms edible were not cultivated but were collected from wooded areas and sold at markets.

Growing mushrooms was originally done in caves in France, where it was a stable environment year-round. Later, it was brought to the UK with the invention of controlled growth medium, which kept pests and contaminants out.

This allowed for consistent production. During this time, spawning cycles were controlled in purpose-built buildings, and production was more uniform.


Mushroom Edibles


Today, most commercial mushrooms are grown on trays or in containers. These methods are beneficial for both scalability and harvesting.

  • Edible mushrooms began to be cultivated in Europe in the early 20th century. Oyster mushrooms were the first species to be described.
  • During the early 20th century, they were found growing on logs. During this period, the cultivation of these mushrooms spread to other countries, including England.
  • However, the imported spawn was not in good condition and produced poor-quality mushrooms. This prompted the United States Department of Agriculture to develop its own spawn.
  • Morels are one of the most highly prized species of edible mushrooms. They are small mushrooms that grow in open scrub and must be differentiated from poisonous ones, such as Gyromitra esculenta.
  • They must be cooked before being eaten. Some Pleurotus species are also commercially harvested. Some species of the species are prized in Japanese cuisine.
  • Edible mushrooms are widely consumed in many parts of the world. Their name refers to the active, living mycelium of the mushroom.

This is the source of the mushrooms’ flavor. The different types of mushrooms may be toxic when cooked with alcohol, but they are edible after parboiling.

Edible mushrooms are found in many species. Some of these species can be harvested in the wild, while others can only be found in cultivation.

Common wild mushrooms are often available at markets. Prized wild mushrooms may be found by private mushroom gatherers.

However, these species are often toxic and need to be treated before consumption. The production of commercial mushrooms worldwide reached 11.9 million tonnes in 2019, with 75% coming from China.

Cultivating A. bisporus mushrooms began in 1650 in Paris, France, where the first mushrooms were grown on used compost from melon farming.

This method of cultivation continues to this day, with caves the most common structure for mushroom cultivation.