The Jammu and Kashmir state is stretched between 32°17′-37°03’N latitude 72°03,-80°20°E longitude, with an average annual rainfall of 60-80cm. The state exhibits varied climatic and topographic conditions and provide a congenial environment for the luxurious growth of diverse groups of plants and fungi. However, information regarding the macro-fungal inventorization from this state is limited. In this backdrop, a systematic study of mushroom diversity from Western Kashmir Himalaya was undertaken. During the course of field survey from March 2009 to December 2010, two new species Mutinus caninus (Huds.) Fr. and Gyromitra sphaerospora (Peck) Sacc. were reported from the surveyed area. These species were identified on the basis of macro and microscopic characteristics and are first records from Kashmir Himalaya.
Earlier mushrooms were consumed mainly for their palatability and unique flavours, but their use as to meet specific nutrient requirements and medicinal purposes is recent one. Pharmaceutical substances with potent and unique health enhancing properties have been isolated from a number of medicinal mushrooms. The modern research support that mushrooms consists of a valuable source of biologically active compounds having significant antioxidant activity and protecting cellular DNA from oxidative damage. The present communication involves the evaluation of antioxidant potential of some mushrooms viz. Coprinus plicatilis, Lentinus tigrinus, Ganoderma applaunatum, Helvella crispa and Flammulina velutipes growing wild in Kashmir. Among them Lentinus tigrinus proved to be having highest antioxidant potential where as Helevella crispa with least antioxidant potential, but all the selected species of mushroom come out with more or less positive results.