Digital Library

Making of the Digital Library

This Digital Library is a unique collection of images and information pertaining to samples of wild edible plants and mushrooms collected by TERI. The coastal areas along the Western Ghats of Maharashtra are regarded as biodiversity hotspot. Sacred groves of the region further ensure that these local species are conserved by the communities through generations and hence are indeed the greatest treasure inherited from forefathers.

TERI has collected the plant and mushroom species from in and around areas of sacred groves, nearby villages and forest areas. The main steps of the process are given below.


  • Transect walk through open terrain, fields, forest area, fringe, village outskirts.


  • Identification of plants with the help of field guide and botanists.
  • Microscopic observation of mushroom mycelium, spores
  • Molecular taxonomy- ITS based identification

Isolation & long term preservation of pure mushroom cultures

  • Isolation of mushroom cultures from the inner tissue of cap/stipe and or spore print


  • Preparation of herbaria, spore prints and Interaction with users like tribals, villagers, medicine men from villages to document facts, applications, method of usage, history and so on.
  • Digital photographs

Nutritional analysis

  • Estimation of proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, moisture, phenols, flavenoids, vitamins and micro nutrients


  • Validation of information with the published scientific data sourced from reports, patents, books and so on.

Digital Library

  • Compilation of ethnic knowledge, digital photographs, information about edible parts, methods of usage, related patents, publications and interesting facts.



India has a vast repository of traditional knowledge which has unfortunately not been put to optimum utilization due to fragmented availability of this knowledge and a general lack of awareness and interest regarding the same.

The digital library will simplify the way in which people can access information regarding wild edibles and their availability, while promoting the consumption of wild edibles to strengthen nutritional security. The domestication and mass cultivation of wild edibles will also help in creating an additional sustainable source of livelihood along with a host of other applications, some of which have been listed below:

To bridge gaps in traditional knowledge
  • A systematic record of wild edibles, their identification, utilization and availability will help maximize the benefits derived from them
  • Would help fill in the knowledge gaps arising out of incomplete or unsystematic propagation of traditional knowledge.
  • Knowledge about wild edibles, their identification and uses is limited or unavailable.
  • Would enable people to access this validated information from any part of the world
For nutritional and medicinal significance
  • Wild edibles are highly nutritious, containing several vital macro-nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
  • They are ideal to supplement the diet especially for marginalized communities as their diets. tend to lack several important nutrients.
  • Wild edibles can supplement regular diets thereby greatly increasing nutritive and gastronomic value and providing people with a wide range of nutritious food options
To promote mass cultivation and providing additional livelihood options for tribals
  • Wild edibles are mostly naturally occurring, although quite a few wild edibles have now been domesticated.
  • With the right training and encouragement the tribal people could mass cultivate these wild edibles not just for their own consumption but also for sale.
  • This would provide a livelihood source and also make nutritious wild edibles available in the market to those who would otherwise not have access to these, for example, city dwellers.
To conserve bio-diversity
  • Conservation of wild edibles is essential to maintain the biodiversity of the region. They are not just emergency or supplementary food but being indigenous, are integral to the region’s biodiversity.
  • Documentation would lead to more awareness and prove to be the first step towards initiating conservation measures.
To better adapt to climatic stresses and shocks
  • Mostly indigenous, wild edibles tend to be resistant to climatic shocks and stresses like cyclones and droughts
  • Most of them can grow even in adverse conditions like drought, which makes them an easily available nutrition source when resources are limited
  • Also, they are non resource intensive to grow, which means they do not compete for soil nutrition and water with other plants in the eco-system.