Sri Lankan scientist hails biodiversity of China’s Yunnan province, eyes future cooperation
Posted on October 22nd, 2021


COLOMBO, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) — A Sri Lankan scientist said China’s Yunnan Province is one of the world’s 35 biodiversity hotspots and the best place on earth to study mushrooms.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, Samantha Chandranath Karunarathna, a mycologist at the Kunming Institute of Botany under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said 900 out of 2,000 edible mushrooms in the world are found in China.

“The most amazing fact is that out of 900 edible mushrooms in China, 600 are found in Yunnan Province,” he said.

Karunarathna first traveled to Yunnan while doing his Ph.D. research at Mae Fah Luang University in Thailand.

He was later offered a research position at the Kunming Institute of Botany and received grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China to carry out the research.

“My future research plans will be to find out new edible and medicinal mushrooms in Yunnan which will benefit people in China and the whole world,” Karunarathna said. “I would like to invest my energy and research to support the poverty alleviation program of China through mushroom cultivation.”

Karunarathna said Sri Lanka, where mushrooms are not a common source of food, has very few mushroom experts, despite being naturally abundant in the tropical climate.

He said his research in Yunnan would help him to develop mushroom research and cultivation in Sri Lanka.

“I witnessed how China invests money for research and development especially to conserve threatened fauna and flora. Also, China pays much attention to restoring degraded lands,” he said.

Karunarathna said Sri Lanka is also rich in biodiversity while lacking the latest technologies in research and development compared to China.

“Sri Lanka can learn a lot from China’s efforts to conserve its biodiversity despite the pressure of a large population and a growing economy,” he said. 

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