Bulletin Number 13. July 31th, 2015

A Birthday Tribute from the WSMBMP to Professor Shu-Ting Chang


    On September 26th, an “International Seminar of Professor S. T. Chang's Academic Thoughts” was held in Nanqiao, Fengxian District of Shanghai, to celebrate the 85th birthday of this pre-eminent mushroom biologist. Organized jointly by the World Society for Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products (WSMBMP), the International Society for Medicinal Mushroom Science, and the International Society for Mushroom Science, the symposium was attended by many of Professor Chang’s friends, ex-students and family members, and included personal tributes delivered by colleagues from China and overseas including Professor Wu Aizhong, Professor Li Yu, Professor Pan Yingjie, Dr Tan Qi, Mr Chen Hui, Professor Dr Dan Royse, Dr Mark Wach, Professor Keto Mshigeni, Dr Anton Sonnenberg, Mr Greg Seymour and Dr John Buswell. 

    Professor Shu-Ting Chang was born on 30th September, 1930 in Gouli Village, Yuanping City, in Shanxi Province, China. After receiving a B.S. degree from the National Taiwan University in 1953, he undertook further studies at the University of Wisconsin in the United States, and received M.S and Ph.D degrees from that university in 1958 and 1960, respectively. In 1960, Professor Chang began his professional career at Chung Chi College, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), initially as Assistant Lecturer in the college’s Department of Biology and subsequently as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Professor, Chair Professor and Chairman in the university’s Department of Biology. During his professional career at CUHK,
Clockwise from top left: Professor Chang appointment as an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE); Professor Chang is made an Honorary Fellow of the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Fellowship certificate; Professor and Mrs Chang on their ‘thrones’ ready to receive tribute from their ‘mushroom progeny’ on his 80th Birthday; Professor Chang receiving the Shanghai Magnolia Silver Award; Professor Chang receiving the Chinese Government Friendship Award.

    Professor Chang served in various capacities including Director of the Marine Science Laboratory, Dean of the Faculty of Science, Director of the Institute of Science and Technology, Vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Society for Biology Education, and Chairman of the Hong Kong Society of Microbiology. In 1994, he was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). Professor Chang retired from CUHK in October 1995, and in November that same year was appointed Emeritus Professor for his outstanding academic and administrative achievements. In 2012, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


Receiving Honorary Life Membership of the International Society for Mushroom Science from President W.A. Hayes (1993) Receiving the Outstanding Researcher Award from Dr José Sanchez, President, World Society for Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products (2005)

    Despite his advanced age, Professor Chang continues to be actively engaged in assisting local governments in countries and regions of Africa and Latin America in matters relating to mushroom science and mushroom production. Dubbed the “mushroom missionary”, he is deeply respected and held in the highest esteem by professionals in mushroom communities worldwide. From very early on in his professional career, Professor Chang has dedicated himself to the development of the mushroom sector in China and, since 1981, has been conferred Guest Professor or Scientific Advisor status by numerous institutes of higher education including Shanxi University, Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, Hebei University, Northwest University and Huazhong Agricultural University, as well as research organizations including the Guangdong Institute of Microbiology, the Institute of Food Fermentation of the Ministry of Light Industry (currently the China National Research Institute of Food and Fermentation Industries), Anhui Institute of Biology, and the Institute of Edible Fungi, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences. As a member of the first group of overseas scholars to come to China, he pioneered training in mushroom technology, introduced the secondary fermentation technique for button mushroom cultivation, invented and popularized the use of cotton wastes for straw mushroom production, and established China as the origin of both straw and shiitake mushroom cultivation. Professor Chang was congratulated in 1995 by President Jiang Zemin in recognition of the immense contributions he has made to promoting the global status of the Chinese mushroom sector, and has received two awards from the Chinese central government: the “International Science and Technology Cooperation Award of the People’s Republic of China” conferred by the State Council of China in 1998, and the “Friendship Award” conferred by the Chinese Government in 2009. In addition, he has received three awards from provincial and municipal governments: the “Magnolia Silver Award” conferred by the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government in 2004, the “West Lake Friendship Award” conferred by the Zhejiang Provincial People's Government in 2008, and the “Magnolia Gold Award” conferred by the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government in 2015.

United Nations Development Programme mushroom training course

    Almost 40 years have elapsed since Professor Chang organized the first training workshop on mushroom technology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1977, which was sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Since then, he has travelled to 72 countries across five continents to disseminate knowledge relating to ‘mushroomology’ and mushroom cultivation technology, receiving support from host countries, UNESCO, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations University, the Zero Emissions Research Initiatives, and numerous other organizations and foundations.

Equally at home – in the field, the laboratory or the office

    Twenty five years ago, during a mushroom workshop held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, it was Professor Chang who set in motion events that ultimately led to the formation of the World Society for Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products. At that time, the only international mushroom society was the ISMS – the International Society for Mushroom Science. Unfortunately, at that time, the activities of this otherwise excellent society was focused almost exclusively on research relating to the button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, while other mushroom species cultivated in China and other parts of Asia were virtually unrepresented. It took Professor Chang’s vision and energy to rectify this anomaly.

    From 2004 to 2006, Professor Chang travelled to several parts of South Africa suffering an epidemic of HIV/AIDS. Research had established that HIV reduced the patient’s immune response, damaged and destroyed the small intestine mucosa, and blocked the absorption of nutrients, ultimately leading to death from complications arising from nutrient deficiency. On Professor Chang’s advice, researchers encouraged patients to take extracts of the medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum in combination with anti-HIV drugs. G. lucidum extracts were subsequently shown to restore depleted levels of the CD4 glycoprotein (essential for an effective immune response) in HIV-infected patients, to help repair the small intestine mucosa and to increase body weight in a short period of time, thus enhancing the quality of life of HIV/AIDS patients. The introduction of medicinal mushrooms combined with anti-HIV drugs to treat HIV/AIDS represents yet another significant contribution by Professor Chang to human welfare and to the mushroom industry.

    In recognition of his unparalleled contributions to mushroom biology, a veritable treasure trove of personal memorabilia donated by Professor Chang will now be on permanent display in a specially assigned room at the Institute of Edible Fungi, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences.


The WSMBMP Bulletin is the official electronic publication of the World Society for Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products. The bulletin is intended to keep members informed about Council activities and to share general information about mushrooms. It is designed to allow communication between society members and alert them about new topics and opportunities related to mushrooms. Society members and general public are kindly invited to submit letters, comments and information of interest for the mushroom community to be published in the bulletin. Please submit your contributions electronically in free format to the editors José E. Sanchez, John, Daniel J. Royse or Helen Grogan

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