Assam Food

Super mushroom to boost immunity, Assam’s Bodoland University’s remarkable feat

-Anindita Das

Immunity becomes the buzzword at this time when the entire human race is struggling to fight COVID, the disease which we do not yet know how to fully prevent or manage the damage caused by it. People are trying to build up their immunity in every possible way, and so they are looking for healthier and tastier options when it comes to immunity boosting food. One such option is Mushroom, the edible fungus that can provide several nutrients.

Mushrooms are divided into three types depending on their properties- basic, advance and super. The super mushroom which contains anti-viral, anti-diabetic, anti-tumor and anti-ageing properties also helps in boosting energy and immunity. The Bodoland University, situated at Kokrajhar district of Assam in a brilliant feat developed a specialized fungal powder from a super mushroom variety called Cordycep militaris, which will facilitate people to boost immunity. Cordyceps is a fungus parasitic on insects that includes over 400 different species. As it is a rare species, difficult to get naturally and is very expensive, is promoted to be cultivated in laboratories. Bodoland University cultivated it in its laboratory following all the condition and parameters required to mimic the natural habitat.

Sandeep Das, the Dean, Faculty of Science and Technology and Professor in the department of Biotechnology elaborating about the process of culture of the mushroom says “It was prepared by freezing. The outcome was a potent pinch of C militaris, powdered through lyophilization at –80°C. The earth has more than 400 species of Cordyceps, a fungus parasitic on insects as well as other fungi.” Das, who also heads BU’s Technology Incubation Centre on Mushrooms says “This mushroom when dried costs about Rs 8 lakhs per kg.

However, the DBT-Government of India sponsored Technology Incubation Centre on Mushroom, Bodoland University is in a capacity to grow it in large scale since 2017, that too in a very low cost.”

With the view to prevent COVID-19, Bodoland University has decided to provide free Cordycep capsules to the civilians. The capsulation process is in progress, and the Department of Biotechnology of the university has already ordered for the capsules from a Maharashtra’s Nasik based firm. The Vice Chancellor of the university Laishram Ladu Singh remarks “Our university is almost a pioneer in lab-growing Cordyceps. The least I could do is make the paperwork fast to let a passionate team innovate.”

The sources inform that an average human can consume up to 0.5 to 3gm on dry weight basis, though 150 mg Cordycep powder is a decent amount to initiate feeding mass population regularly for immediate immune boosting. If produced commercially, each capsule containing the powder of the super mushroom will cost around Rs 120. At the time when the COVID cases in Assam is soaring in an alarming rate, the super mushroom developed by Bodoland University brings on hope to the people of the state to fight the dreadful virus.

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