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Mushrooms: Roen Olmi


Prelims: Environment (Classification of Species), Mushrooms, Mutualism

Mains: General Studies-III, Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Why in the News ?

Two researchers in Goa have said that they synthesised gold nanoparticles from a wild mushroom species that is widely eaten as a delicacy in the coastal state.

Source: IE 

📌 FYI on Prelims


  • It is mutually beneficial relationship between two organisms; here both species derive benefit
  • The relationship may be compulsory (obligatory) or facultative (optional)
  • Examples
    • Lichens
      • The term means ”living together”
      • This is an example where contact is close and permanent as well as obligatory
      • The fungus provides moisture as well as minerals and protection to algae; whereas alga manufactures food material
      • Neither of the two can grow alone independently
    • Crocodile and Bird association
      • Here the bird enters the mouth of crocodile and picks up leaches found between the teeth and feed on them
      • Thus, birds clean the teeth and crocodile is benefited; while the bird gets is nutritional requirement

Roen olmi

  • About:

    • It is a mushroom of the Termitomyces species.
    • It grows on termite hills and is locally known as ‘roen olmi’ in Goa.
    • It is an edible wild mushroom popular among Goans and consumed during the monsoons.
    • These mushrooms have no independent existence. They grow only in association with termites. 
    • Habitat: It is endemic to the Western Ghats, where the thick forest cover and high humidity provides an ideal breeding ground.
    • Ecological significance: It plays a very important role as a powerful biodegrading fungus in forest and grassland ecosystems converting 50% dead plant material on the ground into rich soil.
    • In fact, all Termitomyces species are edible and have unique food value attributed to their texture, flavour, nutrient content, and beneficial mediational properties.
    • Additionally, Termito-myces have been recognized for their ethno-medicinal importance in various indigenous communities throughout Asia and Africa.
    • Termitomyces species possess various beneficial antioxidant and antimicrobial properties
  • Mushrooms

    • They are also known as toadstools, are fleshy and spore-bearing fruiting bodies of fungi. They are typically found above ground, growing on soil or their food source. 
    • The word ‘toadstool’ is commonly used to describe fungi considered toxic, whereas “mushroom” is typically used to categorise fungi that are safe to eat.
    • They lack chlorophyll and, unlike plants, do not engage in photosynthesis. 
    • Instead, they derive nutrients through the decomposition of organic matter or by forming symbiotic relationships with plants, particularly through mycorrhizal fungi.
  • Nutritional Profile: 

    • Mushrooms offer several nutritional benefits. They are low in calories and fat and a good source of protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
    • They contain essential nutrients such as B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid) and minerals (selenium, potassium, and copper). 
    • Mushrooms also contain various beneficial compounds, including antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. 
    • These compounds may help to protect against chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
    • Certain mushroom species, like shiitake mushrooms, are also known for their potential health benefits.
  • Medicinal Properties:

    • Certain mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for their potential medicinal properties. 
    • For example, reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lucidum) are believed to boost the immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties. 
    • Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) may enhance brain function and promote nerve regeneration. 


Prelims: PYQ/FAQ

Q. Which of the following have species that can establish symbiotic relationship with other organisms?
1. Cnidarians
2. Fungi
3. Protozoa
Select the correct answer using the code given below.

A) 1 and 2 only

B) 2 and 3 only

C) 1 and 3 only

D) 1, 2 and 3


  • Some organisms live together and share both shelter and nutrients. This relationship is called symbiosis.
  • Statement 1 is correct. Cnidaria is an invertebrate phylum which often involves in a symbiotic relation with the unicellular dinoflagellate algae, called zooxanthellae. 
  • Statement 2 is correct. Certain fungi live inside the roots of plants. The plants provide nutrients to the fungus and, in return, the fungus provides water and certain nutrients. Fungi also lives in a symbiotic relation with algae as a lichen. 
  • Statement 3 is correctProtozoa also forms symbiotic relations with other organisms. Symbiosis in protozoa mostly represents: 
    •  A close mutualistic association between a protozoan and unicellular symbiont (like bacteria, cyanobacteria or/and unicellular algae) or  
    • Protozoans and a multicellular organism (ruminants, lower termites, wood-eating cockroaches, plants) 

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