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The number of mushrooms on the earth was estimated around 140,000 of which only 10% are known (Wasser, 2002; Lindequist
et al., 2005). Tropics are considered as rich repositories of mushroom diversity and most of the new mushrooms reported in
recent years are from tropics, especially those species forming ectomycorrhizas with native trees (Hawksworth, 2001). In various
tropical areas, 22?55% of mushroom species have proved to be undescribed (Hawksworth, 2001; Wasser, 2002). India is one
such tropical country with diverse ecological characteristics for species richness. Considering the large area of the country and
different vegetation types, this species number is accountable. Further, a large agaric flora from different parts of the country is
yet to be described.
The larger fungi which consist of the order Agaricales and Boletales have about 10,400 species out of the 80,060 species of
fungi reported so far. In India, the survey of literature indicates a total number of 1,160 species are only described in these 2
orders viz., Agaricales and Boletales until now (Manjula, 1983; Lakhanpal 1995, Atri, 2012 Natarajan et al., 2005, Kumar and
Kaviyarasan 2011). A serious study on the order Agaricales was taken up in this laboratory some three decades back. Fifty five
taxa are being described as new to science, eight taxa are being described as new varieties, one hundred and twenty two taxa are
earlier reported from various places of Indian subcontinent have also been studied, and fourty three taxa are being reported as
potential ectomycorrhizal fungi. Among the above list 58 are known to be edible, 10 are having medicinal properties 31 species
are poisonous and the rest are least understood. Recently many new species are being added by our group to the agaric diversity
of Eastern Ghats revealing its rich biodiversity.
V Kaviyarasan received his Ph.D and is working on mushroom biodiversity for the past two decades under the guidance of Prof. K Natarajan, a
pioneer worker on south Indian mushrooms. He is a faculty in the Centre of Advanced studies in Botany, University of Madras at Chennai, India.
Currently he is working on the agaric biodiversity of Eastern Ghats. Recently many mushrooms were documented for their medicinal, nutritional and
degradative potential. He served as Vice-President of the Mycological Society of India during the period of 2010-11
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