Progress in the Artificial Cultivation and Industrialization of the Edible and Medicinal Mushroom, Sparassis latifolia
Institute of Edible Fungi, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences,
National and Local Joint Engineering Research Center for Breeding & Cultivation of Featured Edible Fungi, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Fuzhou, Fujian, China
Yanquan Lin, Lu Ma, Zhenghe Ying, Xiaoling Jiang
Sparassis latifolia (also known as the cauliflower mushroom) is a rare edible and medicinal mushroom species that is cultivated in China where it is valued as highly as Cordyceps sinensis, Morchella esculenta (morel) and Tuber melanosporum (truffle). S. latifolia is not only delicious and nutritious, but also contains remarkably high concentrations of bioactive polysaccharides which exhibit various medicinal properties including immuno-enhancing, tumor-suppressing and anticancer effects. Previously, due to its stringent nutritional and environmental requirements, domestication and the artificial cultivation of S. latifolia was thought to be impossible. However, considerable progress has been achieved by researchers at the Institute of Edible Fungi, Fujian Academy of Agricultural Sciences (FAAS), who, since 2004 have focused their efforts on the breeding, biological characteristics, nutritional physiology, submerged fermentation and commercial cultivation of this exquisite mushroom. In this article, we describe the progress achieved over the past decade.
Our team first cultivated S. latifolia artificially in 2005, and the agronomic characteristics, biological features, nutritional physiology, disease resistance capacity and productivity were subsequently investigated. The first artificially cultivated strain was certified by the Variety Certification Committee of Fujian Province in April 2013, formally registered as the ‘Min Xiu No.1’ strain, and represented China’s first self-owned intellectual property variety. Min Xiu No 1 was suitable for commercial cultivation at a high biological efficiency, with yields and harvest times of 150～200 g/bag and 120 d, respectively. Fresh S. latifolia fruit bodies have a good storage capacity and, after drying, are hard and brittle with a golden yellow color.
Clockwise from top left: 1 and 2, Fresh S. latifolia fruit bodies; 3, Dried S. latifolia fruit bodies; 4, S. latifolia fruit bodies under cultivation
In order to improve growth synchrony, yield, quality and a shorter harvest time, a systematic study of the biological and cultivation characteristics S. latifolia was undertaken. The S. latifolia “Shaping neck micro-ecological growth pattern” was first proposed by our team based on the facultative anaerobic physiological characteristics associated with S. latifolia primordium formation. We successfully overcame earlier difficulties in initiating primordium formation, and have developed an innovative commercial cultivation technology for S. latifolia suitable for China that has been awarded a national patent.
Mother Spawn Substrate ready for autoclaving
3. Industrial development
In 2009, our team took the lead in the industrial-scale cultivation of S. latifolia, established the first industrial production base, and developed the industrial system of “scientific research-bases-demonstration-sales”. So far, this has only been achieved in Fujian Province where three S. latifolia manufacturing enterprises (in Fuzhou and Sanming) have been established. Fujian Province is the only production and export base in China integrating R&D, production and sales.
4. Product processing
Our team has also developed many S. latifolia-based products including tea, fruit-vegetable powder, beverages and chewable tablets.
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