Mushroom Industry.

Mushrooms are fungi that are mostly consumed by humans. Mushrooms are very nutritious and contain calcium, minerals and Vitamins. Some mushrooms contain specialized molecules that are used in medications.

Mushrooms are consumed around the world not for their nutritious value but for their flavour and taste. Even in Pakistan mushrooms are consumed in pizzas, soups, burgers etc.

Amazingly unlike the plants and animal species, mushrooms have not all been discovered and classified. Therefore a lot of research and work needs to be done in the study of mushroom species around the world.

Fortunately, many countries around the world have perfected the cultivation of mushrooms on a commercial scale. Now mushrooms are grown commercially in sterile conditions in dark rooms.

In Pakistan, the northern mountains have the perfect climate for mushroom growth, including cool wet weather, humidity and forests. Thousands of mushrooms grow in the hilly forest areas of Swat, Nathiagali etc, where some of the well-known species are collected by locals for consumption or sale in local markets.

On my recent trip to Swat, I met a young man from Malam Jabba Swat named Yousuf Ali, who was working on his Peshawar University MPhil research on mushroom discovery in Swat. He told me that in Swat, 80% of mushrooms were not discovered or classified.

In his research, he had already discovered a new mushroom in Pakistan, that he had named 'Gymnopus Swaticus' after the Swat region. The mushroom has two new and special 'cyclopeptide' molecules that are used in anti-cancer medications. This mushroom is only available in Canada and Pakistan at...

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