Bulletin Number 2. January 30th, 2010
Dr. Danny Lee RinkerDr. Danny Lee Rinker

The Vineland Experiment Station was born in 1906, created out of an intense desire by farmers for locally applicable research and SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1 by a Niagara-born philanthropic industrialist, Moses F. Rittenhouse. Since its beginnings over 100 years ago, the Station has moved through various managements that include the Ontario government, University of Guelph and now a non-profit organization, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre. Through this history the Research Station grew in size and staff through the 1970s. But, with the impact of government downsizing and downloading, its staff dwindled to barely a critical mass. Presently, the provincial government has infused funds back into the site with the goal that it becomes self-sustaining.

During this 100 year history, three mushroom scientists, the three “mush-kateers”, took leadership in assisting and developing the emerging mushroom industry. Mushrooms were first cultivated in Canada about 1912. And in 1970 the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food committed resources in research and extension toward the development of the Ontario commercial mushroom industry.

The first “mush-kateer”, Arthur Loughton, arrived from England with his first responsibility to oversee the design and construction of the first publicly funded mushroom research facility in Canada. The facility, constructed inside an existing building previously used to force rhubarb, on the then campus of the Horticultural Research Institute of Ontario, (Vineland Station, Ontario) consisted of a miniature tray farm.

During the first years of the research program considerable effort was expended on the choice of casing layer materials. In part through his efforts sphagnum peat moss became the casing material of choice in Canada. Loughton also sought to determine the reason behind the presence of mercury detected in mushrooms, concluding that the probable source was the horse manure containing mercury salts used in horse medications. In 1975, Loughton became the director of the Horticulture Experiment Station at Simcoe (Ontario).

The second “mush-kateer”, Frank Ingratta, assumed the research responsibilities for the next eight years until he became the Chief Scientist for the Production and Breeding Unit at the Horticultural Research Institute of Ontario. And after several government appointments he became the Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Ontario until his retirement in 2005.

Ingratta continued research on the casing layer but at a more fundamental level in determining the role that microorganisms and volatiles had in the initiation of the mushroom fruit body. In collaboration with work with Theo Olthof of Agriculture Canada they investigated the influence of saprophytic nematodes on mushroom production.

Control of mushroom infesting insects were also ongoing research interests. In part through Ingratta’s efforts methoprene was registered. In 1980 a Mushroom Integrated Pest Management project was initiated in Ontario in collaboration with a similar Pennsylvania State University project. Together with the mushroom extension specialist, Wayne Brown, their initial emphasis on monitoring for insects and the subsequent physical and horticultural management recommendations to reduce fly infestations significantly aided in reduced fly problems and decreased pesticide use for Ontario growers.

Extension responsibilities to the Ontario commercial mushroom industry were served by David Pallett (1970-71), David Sangster (1972-75), Theo Blom (1976-78) and Wayne Brown (1979-84).

The third “mush-kateer”, Danny Lee Rinker, assumed responsibilities for both research and extension in 1984. In the Loughton designed facility Rinker evaluated numerous products for compost or casing that might benefit its processes, or increase yield. Biological control strategies using entomopathogenic nematodes and Bacillus thuringiensis var israeliensis were determined. And a selective medium for detecting Verticillium-disease on the farm was developed.

In April 1992 research in the 1972 mushroom unit was terminated. Construction of a new facility, principally under my design, began in November 1992, funded by Jobs Ontario. After numerous delays, the facility was ready for research in February 1996. This was a computerized mini-tray farm with mini-Phase II/spawn run tunnels.

The research program in the new Mushroom Research Facility and on-farm research concentrated on identification, management and control of the aggressive green mould disease (Trichoderma aggressivum f. aggressivum), degradation of pesticides during the compost preparation and mushroom production processes, compost odours, deterioration in post-harvest mushrooms by bacteria and fungi, and evaluation (or re-evaluation) or comparisons of pesticides or biological control products for registration against the sciarid fly, aggressive green mould, secondary casing green moulds and dry bubble . During my tenure chlorothalonil, propiconizole, permethrin, cyromazine, benomyl and thiophanate methyl were registered for mushroom use in Canada. Straw cultivars and their storage time along with their respective chemical constituents were evaluated for their impact on commercial and oyster mushroom production.

Speciality mushroom research had its initiation in 1980 at Vineland with Ingratta who investigated cultivation of shiitake and oyster mushrooms on various substrates and supplements. I continued these efforts in evaluation of formulations of oyster and shiitake substrates, pasteurization of shiitake substrates, techniques of production and virus disease of oyster mushooms. In addition, thorough the efforts of Eustaquio Souza-Diaz, a visiting scholar from Federal University of Lavras (Brazil), we assessed techniques and materials for the production of Agaricus brasiliensis.

Research could not have been accomplished without the able assistance of the two mushroom technicians. Bill Straver started with Arthur Lougthton and continued with Frank Ingratta. His technical responsibilites were split between greenhouse vegetables and mushrooms. When I arrived, Straver moved out of mushrooms into full-time greenhouse vegetables and Glen Alm became the mushroom technician for the next 24 years.

the tree mush-kateers
The Three “Mush-kateers” and their technicians at the departmental retirement party for Danny Rinker. (L-R) Bill Straver, Arthur Loughton, Frank Ingratta, Danny Lee Rinker and Glen Alm.

Will there be a fourth “mush-kateer” in Ontario? I retired in 2009. And at this time neither the University of Guelph nor Vineland Research and Innovation Centre have plans to continue with a mushroom research program. The Vineland situation is not unique. Many universities or institutes with well known mushroom programs are being downsized intentionally or through attrition or simply terminated. This certainly leads to speculation as to where the technology and answers to production, insect or disease problems will be provided. Will it be from the US, Mexico, South America, Eastern Europe, India or China? Will it emerge from the private sector through grower associations, spawn companies or other institutes? This change in mushroom industry support provides opportunities for entrepreneurship or for other universities with fledging mushroom programs to take the lead in developing programs that will benefit the worldwide mushroom industry.

So, to all my friends and colleagues in the mushroom industry that I have made over the past thirty so years, I wish you well in your research efforts and in your personal lives. I hope that our paths will cross again.

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Dr. Tan QiDr. Qi Tan

Dr. Hui CaoDr. Hui Cao

Institute of Edible Fungi, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Shanghai 201106, P. R. China

In 1978, 60,000 tonnes of cultivated edible mushrooms were produced in China, accounting for only 5.7% of the total world output. However, in 2008, mushroom production in China exceeded 18.2 million tonnes, equivalent to about 70% of total output worldwide. The reasons underlying China’s successful development of its mushroom industry during the past three decades can be summarized as follows: (1) government policies; (2) scientific support; (3) diligent and innovative mushroom farmers; and (4) natural market growth. This paper will briefly introduce the management structures and academic institutions operating in the main production areas, and will offer prognoses for the future development of the mushroom industry in China.

I Management structures and academic institutions in the main mushroom production areas OF China

1. Management Structure

1.1 Administration

Before 1978, because production levels were so low, no special department was assigned by the Chinese Government to take charge of the mushroom industry. The Ministries of Agriculture, Light Industry, and the Chinese Federation of Supply and Marketing each managed part of the mushroom industry. For example, the Ministry of Light Industry was responsible for canned mushroom production, and the Chinese Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperative were in charge of dried mushroom production. However, mushroom output has increased dramatically since the 1980’s, and the government now pays more attention to the mushroom industry. The Division of Economic Crops, Department of Crop Production, Ministry of Agriculture, has overall responsibility for administering the Chinese mushroom industry, and various local government agricultural commissions are responsible for the industry at the local level.

1.2 Associations and societies

There are four mushroom associations/societies in China (See Table 1).

2. Academic Institutions

Statistics reveal that more than 100 universities and other academic institutions, associated with agriculture, forestry, light industry, trade or education, focus on mushroom-related teaching and research, or are engaged in the practical application and exploitation of mushrooms. There are currently over 5,000 professionals engaged in the Chinese mushroom industry[1].

2.1 Main institutes engaged on various aspects of mushroom research and development

Institute of Edible Fungi, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shanghai; Fujian Research Institute of Light Industry, Fuzhou, Fujian Province; Sanming Mycological Research Institute, Sanming, Fujian Province;
Guangdong Microbiology Research Institute, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province;
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing;
Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing;
Kunming Edible Fungi Research Institute, Kunming, Yunnan Province.

2.2 Main Universities offering mushroom-related M.Sc and Ph.D degree programmes

Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei Province;
Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University, Fuzhou, Fujian Province;
Jilin Agricultural University, Changchun, Jilin Province;
The China Agricultural University, Beijing;
Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.

2.3 Journals

China has six journals that publish research papers, reviews and other articles concerned with mushrooms. Details are shown in Table 2.

3. Main Mushroom Production Areas

The main mushroom production areas in China are located in the provinces of Fujian, Zhejiang, Shandong, Henan, Heilongjiang, Sichuan, Jiangsu, Guangxi and Hebei.

In terms of output, Pleurotus spp occupy the top position followed by (in order of decreasing production levels) Lentinula edodes, Agaricus bisporus, Auricularia spp and Flammulina velutipes.

In China, the mainly production areas for Pleurotus spp are located in the provinces of Henan, Jiangsu and Hebei. For L. edodes, the main production areas are in Fujian, Zhejiang and Henan, for Auricularia auricula in Heilongjiang, Jilin and Hubei, and for Auricularia polytricha in Fujian, Sichuan and Henan. The main production areas for A. bisporus are in Fujian, Shandong and Guangxi, and for F. velutipes in Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Hebei.

4. Main Mushroom Enterprises in China



1. Integrity of Administrative Regulations

On 1st June 2006, in order to protect intellectual property rights, standardize strain production, and guarantee strain quality, the central government’s Ministry of Agriculture promulgated the “Regulation of edible fungi strains”. According to the Regulation, a recognition system for strains of edible fungi will be established. Furthermore, spawn producers will be required to pass examinations based on their knowledge of financing, equipment and techniques in order to obtain a certificate issued by the relevant provincial or district agricultural administrative department.

2. Strengthening of Scientific Research

Future research will focus on the collection and investigation of edible and medicinal fungi resources, the establishment of molecular marker systems for commercial strains, genetic breeding of the major types of edible fungi, and the development of processed and finished mushroom products.

3. Development of Different Cultivation Modes


According to a review by Lu & Li [2], the development of mushroom industry models in China and other countries reveals the following features and trends: in the context of organizational and management structure, models can be divided into (1) the individual small farmer type, (2) the company + company-operated training and cultivation base + farmer type, and (3) the group (collection of companies involved in the separate production, marketing and processing of mushrooms) + specialist (mushroom expert) + farm (company-operated training and cultivation base). Furthermore, models can be divided into the traditional hand-operation mode, the semi-mechanized mode and the mechanized mode according to the usage of machinery in the production process. Table 3 illustrates the two-dimensional features (production style and management structure) of mushroom industry development modes and developmental stages. Progression is from the individual small farmer and the traditional hand-operation mode to an intensive, mechanized and automated mode. A highly professional mushroom industry has appeared in the process with, for example, factories in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Japan, France and the USA producing and selling substrates, strains and cultivated mushrooms. In the context of the development modes outlined in Table 3, the bulk of China’s mushroom industry lies somewhere between Stages I and II.

Nowadays, industrial-scale mushroom production (Stage III) is booming in developed areas of China such as Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou. For instance, there are eight mushroom factories in Shanghai, including Shanghai Finc Bio-tech Inc, and the total daily yield of fresh mushrooms can reach 44 tonnes.

4. Improved Mushroom Product Quality

Statistics reveal that, in recent years, the total mushroom production in China has accounted for around 70% of the total world output. However, improvements are still needed in terms of product quality, and both improved mushroom varieties and cultivation modes will be necessary in the future. In the interim, standardized production programs should be recommended and introduced. Before 2000, there were 21 standards relating to mushroom products in China. Up until July 2006, 19 national-level and 38 Ministry of Agriculture standards have been issued. An Edible Fungi Standards Management Committee is to be created and should be established in the near future. The first Supervision and Testing Center for Edible Fungi Products was established in 1998 at the Institute of Edible Fungi, Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences, under the guidance of the central government’s Ministry of Agriculture. The Center is responsible for the quality and security of mushroom products (including spawn and production material). As of 2006, five similar centers have been established in different regions of China.

It is our belief that China’s mushroom industry will continue to develop healthily and smoothly through the combined efforts of all its members.


We are especially grateful to Mr. Jieren Lu, Executive Deputy Director, China Edible Fungi Association; Ms. Xi Long, Deputy Director, Division of Economic Crops, Department of Crop Production, Ministry of Agriculture, for providing several data.


1. Zesheng Wang. The status quo and developmental trend of internal and international mushroom industries. Mycosystema, 2005. 24 (Supplement):1-6. 2. Lu Min, Li Yu. Present status and future prospects of the mushroom industry in China. Acta Edulis Fungi, 2006. 13(1): 1-5.

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Dr. Jean Michel SavoieDr. Jean Michel Savoie
INRA. Bordeaux,

Eighteen years after the first International Conference on Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products, the seventh conference will be held in Arcachon, France, from 4-7 October 2011. Surrounded by golden sands, Arcachon lies on the mouth of the Bassin d’Arcachon – a rare inlet on the long, straight, west coast of France. The conference centre is situated on the seafront boulevard promenade. It is just sixty kilometres from the great wine capital of Bordeaux, a classical French city on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites since 2007.

This conference has as its goal the exchange of information about new findings in the aspects of mushroom biology and mushroom products including (i) cultivation technology and bioconversion; (ii) genomics, genetics and breeding; (iii) nutritional and medicinal aspects, and innovative products from mushrooms.

During the meeting there will be ample opportunity to meet with colleagues and friends in a relaxed atmosphere to strengthen collaborations between mushrooms scientists and also between scientists and persons involved or interested in all aspects of the Mushroom Industry including Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms.

According to the local organising committee, the program of the 7ICMBMP will comprise a number of plenary lectures given by the leaders in key mushroom research fields. In addition, PhD students and young scientists will be given the opportunity to present their research as short talks during the main session and workshops or as a poster. The posters will be displayed throughout the entire conference.

A trade exhibition will be held concurrently with the scientific programme from 5-7 October for organizations to showcase their services, products and technologies. Maximum exposure to exhibitors will be carefully planned and delegate catering will take place in the exhibition area.

The local organising committee consists of members of the mushroom biology and genetics research group in the Department of Mycology and Food Safety, INRA France and includes Jean-Michel SAVOIE, Marie FOULONGNE, Michelle LARGETEAU, Christophe BILLETTE and Philippe CALLAC.

Contact :

We are looking for people to join the scientific committee which will be responsible for developing the scientific programme and reviewing manuscripts submitted for inclusion in the conference proceedings.

A dedicated 7ICMBMP Web Site is under construction and not yet accessible. Until then you will find information at

The organising committee looks forward to welcoming you in Arcachon, France, in 2011.

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Iberoamerican Workshop on Edible Mushrooms

April 21-23, 2010. San Cristobal de las Casas, México
Deadline for submission of papers: 28 February 2010
Call for papers
More information:

18th ISMS Congress

The 18th Congress of the International Society for Mushroom Science will be held in Beijing, China during August 25-30, 2012. The conference website will be launched on May 1, 2010. If there are any comments, proposals, or inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Jinxia Zhang. Executive Secretary of 18th ISMS Congress

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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 and Helen Grogan

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