Dr. Jean Michel Savoie
Biological resources and breeding for improvements in the production of the button mushroom in small-scale farming.Â
Gourmet mushrooms may contribute to the development of a new agriculture by addressing the consumer demand and some of the non-nutritional uses of agricultural productions. The value of recycling with gourmet and medicinal mushrooms is clearly understood and wastes can be viewed as positive products, at least in term of providing new economic opportunities and positive environmental consequences. Important cultivated edible and medicinal mushrooms are members of the Agaricus genus. They are saprophytic fungi acting as secondary decomposers in forest litter.Â The button mushroom is Agaricus bisporus cultivated as a gourmet mushroom since the 18th century and high yields are now obtained in sophisticated farms in western countries. Its potential as a medicinal mushroom has recently been shown. Throughout the world the cultivation of this mushroom is developing in small and mid-sized farms, but the technical knowledge and the strains have been developed for cultivation in high-tech large farms. Needs for small-scale farming are simple cultivation processes using rustic strains able to fruit under various conditions, and strains with stable contents in active ingredients, whatever the cultivation conditions. By using available biodiversity and breeding, one can expect to develop homogeneous, vigorous and rustic strains with good productivity and commercial quality. Potentials are explored in this article.
AGARICUS bisporus AS A SOURCE OF ACTIVE BIOMOLECULES
Recent evidence suggests that A. bisporus contains high levels of substances of possible medicinal importance such as tyrosinase, aromatase inhibitors and immunomodulating and antitumor polysaccharides . Ergosterol, vitamin D2 content, and various antioxidants are also proposed as interesting components for the development of A. bisporus as a nutraceutical for tomorrow [2, 3]. Agaricus bisporus was shown to interfere with processes critical to atherogenesis and cardiovascular disease and to have a potential to minimize risks . Â
Very few studies have reported the tissue distribution of bioactive metabolites in mushrooms during development, despite growing evidence that maturation affects the concentration of natural compounds in mushrooms [5-7]. For A. bisporus, recent data provide guidance for optimized harvesting time of mushrooms and maximized health benefits [8, 9].
FIGURE 1: White and brown strains of Agaricus bisporus cultivated on an experimental scale
BIODIVERSITY AND GENETIC VARIABILITYÂ
Agaricus bisporus has been cultivated in Europe since the beginning of 18th Century and expended to other continents later. The cultivars used by growers over the world are suspected to come from the same restricted pool of strains, and the genetic base of all the present day hybrids is very narrow. The first commercial crossbred A. bisporus strains (Horst-U1) were developed in The Netherlands in the 1980â€™s. In a recent study with 75 cultivated genotypes provided by European spawn makers, isolated from 1990 to 2005, and maintained under liquid nitrogen, six groups were identified which corresponded to the five ancestral lineages and the hybrids belonging to either Horst-U1 or Horst-U3 sub-group of strains. For three hybrids that seemed to be genetically identical to Horst-U1 at the heterokaryotic level, the analyses of each constituting nuclei have demonstrated allelic rearrangement . Such a study shows the narrow genetic variability among the cultivars of this mushroom. That is why a collection of wild strains appeared necessary to researchers. Crop wild relatives and local varieties are the elements of agricultural biodiversity most likely to contain the necessary novel, unique and high level of genetic diversity needed to sustain innovations in breeding programs. Since the end of the 80â€™s, two major collections, the ARP (Agaricus Resource Program, ) in the USA, and the CGAB (Collection du Germoplasme des Agarics Ã Bordeaux, ) at INRA-Bordeaux contain hundreds of wild isolates originating from various habitats and numerous geographic origins. Among the various identified populations, one was identified in Greece with some white strains that are very rare in the wild and another one in the Sonoran Desert in California. This isolated population is composed by a specific variety, A. bisporus var burnettii having as specific life cycle and other phenotypic characteristics that can be used in breeding programs when crossed with A. bisporus var bisporus to which belong all the cultivated and most of the wild strains.
Wild germplasm thus may represent a useful resource available for developing Agaricus strains with improved quality for the production of substances with possible medicinal importance. Studies on both genotypic and phenotypic variability stress the interest of these collections for introducing new traits in the cultivated strains. However, until recently, there are only a few developments of new cultivars using the potentiality of wild strains.
BREEDING OF AGARICUS MUSHROOMS
Knowledge of the life cycle and reproductive strategies is necessary to develop breeding of mushrooms. Only a few genetic studies have been carried out concerning A. bisporus, due to its particular life cycle. It is an amphitallic species with a homothallic or heterothallic cycle depending on the ploÃ¯dy level of the spores that can be heterokaryotic (n + n) or homokaryotic (n), respectively. Cultivated strains and most of the wild strains belong to A. bisporus var. bisporus with a predominantly pseudohomothallic life cycle, producing mainly bisporic basidia. This behavior, equivalent to a pseudoclonal inbreeding system, hampers outcrossing and limits breeding successes. The discovery of the heterothallic A. bisporus var. burnettii among the wild genetic resources in a specific population  makes it possible to overcome these limitations. In fact, this variety is predominantly heterothallic and produces mainly tetrasporic basidia necessary for homokaryotic spore production. Introducing the dominant tetrasporic allele  into mushroom pedigrees greatly facilitates the breeding process. A third variety, A. bisporus var. eurotetrasporus, produces mainly tetrasporic basidia but is homothallic .Â
Outcrossing of homokaryons is the method generally used for the development of crossbred mushroom strains. The hybrid obtained is cultivated to produce fruiting bodies that generate numerous spores as offspring. Depending on the life cycle, the spores either are auto-fertile and able to fruit or are homokaryons needing to be crossed with a tester for producing fruiting bodies on which phenotypic traits are assessed. These methods allowed performing genetic analyses of quantitative traits that are under polygenic inheritance. The quantitative genetic approaches are based on a global analysis of phenotypic trait variation through variance components, heritabilities and least number of effective factors, but the individual genetic effects of these factors remained inaccessible. This method has been proven to be effective for important production traits in mushroom industrial cultures such as yield, quality or resistance to diseases [16, 17].Â To our knowledge, there is no published work on genetic characteristics of traits affecting the production of bioactive molecules in A. bisporus.Â
The development of molecular markers and the construction of genetic linkage maps are essential tools for genetic studies of quantitative traits and improve the efficiency of breeding programs. These tools are mainly used in plants and can be applied to mushrooms. An expanded genetic linkage map of an intervarietal A. bisporus var. bisporus x A. bisporus var. burnettii hybrid, based on AFLP, SSR and CAPS markers, has recently been published and it sheds light on the recombination behaviour of the species . This linkage map contributes to the understanding of genome organisation and is a reference for the development of powerful tools for establishing efficient breeding programs with A. bisporus in addition to information from its recent genome sequencing. Marker assisted selection is currently used by breeders of A. bisporus, but for only a couple of traits such as color or for identifying homokaryons.Â
DEVELOPMENT OF RUSTIC AGARICUS STRAINS FOR CULTIVATION IN SUSTAINABLE SMALL-SCALE FARMING
Up until now, the management of the temperature during fruiting of Agaricus mushrooms is critical. It could necessitate expensive facilities and consume large amounts of energy. That is why it is a challenge to have strains that can be cultivated under various temperatures.Â
We screened wild strains representative of the major geographical populations of A. bisporus for their ability to produce mature fruiting bodies at the normal temperature used for cultivation (around 17Â°C) and at a higher temperature, set around 24Â°C . One quarter of the strains of A. bisporus var bisporus were able to fruit at high temperature, but for most of those, yields were significantly lower than they were at the lower temperature. They represented all studied populations. All A. bisporus var. burnettii strains produced fruiting bodies with high yields both at 17Â°C and 25Â°C. However the mushrooms produced were small, opened rapidly and were far from the standard of commercialization in Europe. Apparently this variety is not dependent on or is less susceptible to temperature for fruiting and that would be an advantage for small-scale farming, especially if the objective is to produce medicinal extracts. Hybrids can be obtained by crossing homokaryons of A. bisporus var. burnettii and A. bisporus var. bisporus. The first genetic map of the species was built from such a cross . Improved hybrids including the lower susceptibility to temperature could be produced rapidly by using marker assisted selection tools.Â
IMPROVEMENT OF THE MUSHROOM QUALITY AS SOURCE OF MEDICINAL COMPOUNDS USING THE GENETIC RESOURCES AND BREEDING
Improving the quality of mushroom products as source of raw extracts or purified compounds having medicinal effects is a challenge for the development of new activities and products. The objective may be reached by mushroom breeding. In addition to a large genetic and phenotypic variability and possibility to cross strains, it is necessary to be able to screen the properties of a large number of strains and hybrids. For instance, offspring of at least 100 individuals is necessary for genetic analyses of a specific trait and one can expect to obtain significant improvements without affecting other important traits by studying several offspring. That renders impossible in vivo tests on animals, and in vitro tests on cellular models would be very expensive and time consuming. The more promising way is the chemical analysis of a specific metabolite, even if it should be difficult for polysaccharides with biological activity depending on their chemical structure and spatial arrangement.
There is no significant study on the variations in the potentials of health benefits with the genotypes of a large number of strains. Higher concentrations of ergosterols and antioxidant activities were found in a brown cultivated strain than in a white hybrid  and higher radical scavenging activities correlating with higher phenolic contents were found in extracts of two wild strains than in a white hybrid cultivated under the same conditions . Sabourin et al.  published an interesting work on agaritine content of 50 A. bisporus strains from wild germplasm. Substantial natural variation exists, that potentially could be exploited to manipulate agaritine levels in novel hybrid strains. Each of the New World population samples had lower mean agaritine levels than any of the Old World population samples, and cultivars had intermediate agaritine levels corresponding to the lower-middle range recorded from European strains. This example shows that there is a potentially useful resource available for developing Agaricus strains with high or low contents of a specific component.
Â Whereas A. bisporus is mainly used as an edible mushroom it has an interesting potential as a medicinal mushroom and sources of biologically active molecules in its extracts. The research work performed on the biology of this mushroom clearly states that there is an available biodiversity inside the species that could be a source of interesting traits for the development of a small-scale mushroom farming dedicated to the production of medicinal mushroom extracts. The biological translation of the practical needs for developing this activity is: homogeneous, vigorous and rustic strains able to produce high quantities of fruiting bodies rich in active ingredients under various conditions. The examples of current works on the effect of temperature on the mushroom development and the content in some compounds given is this article open opportunities to use the biodiversity and breeding programs to reach the objective of proposing new strains adapted to the conditions of small scale farming. The selection criteria are different from those used today for the development of edible strains used by large farms and a specific breeding program should be built for supporting the development of this new farming activity. However, breeding work can be very long-term. The development and use of marker-assisted selection is a promising way nowadays because a genetic linkage map is available  and has proved its efficiency [21, 22].Â Furthermore, the whole sequence of A. bisporus has been released (http://genome.jgi-psf.org) for the scientific community and is going to be analysed .
 Beelman R.B. et al. (2003). Bioactive components in button mushroom Agaricus bisporus (J. Lge) Imbach (Agaricomycetideae) of nutritional, medicinal or biological importance. Int J Med Mush 5: 321-337.Â
 Gopalakrishnan C. et al. (2005). Development of Agaricus bisporus as a nutraceutical of tomorrow. Acta Hort (ISHS) 680: 45-47.Â
 Lelley J.I., Vetter J. (2005). The possible role of mushrooms in maintaining good health and preventing diseases. Acta Edulis Fungi 12 Sup: 412-419.Â
 Martin K. (2010). Both common and specialty mushrooms inhibit adhesion molecule expression and in vitro binding of monocytes to human aortic endothelial cells in a pro-inflammatory environment. Nut. J. 2010, 9:29.
 Bellini M.F. et al. (2003). Anticlastogenic effect of aqueous extracts of Agaricus blazei on CHO-k1 cells, studying different developmental phases of the mushroom. Toxicol In Vitro 17 (4), 465-469.
 Camelini C.M. et al. (2005). Structural characterization of -glucans of Agaricus brasiliensis in different stages of fruiting body maturity and their use in nutraceutical products. Biotechnol Lett 27 (17), 1295-1299.
 MourÃ£o F. et al. (2011). Antioxidanty activity of Agaricus brasiliensis basidiocarps on different maturation phases. Braz J Microbiol 42: 197-202.
 Savoie J.M. et al. (2008). Radical scavenging properties of extracts from the white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus. J Sci Food Agri 88: 970-975.
 Shao S. et al. (2010). Ergosterol profiles, fatty acid composition, and antioxidant activities of button mushrooms as affected by tissue part and developmental stage. J. Agric. Food Chem. 58, 11616â€?1625.
 Foulongne-Oriol M. et al. (2011). Agaricus bisporus cultivars: hidden diversity beyond apparent uniformity ? Proceedings of the 7th International conference on Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products. Volume 2. Savoie JM, Foulongne-Oriol M. Largeteau M., Barroso G. (Eds)Â 9-16. http://wsmbmp.org/Previous_Conference_7.html.
 Kerrigan R.W. (1996). Characteristics of a large collection of wild edible mushroom germ plasm: the Agaricus resource program 1-302-308. Veldhoven, The Netherlands. Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures and the World Federation for Culture Collections.Â
 Callac P. et al. (2002). The germplasm of Agaricus bisporus: main results after ten years of collection in France, in Greece, and in North America. Acta Horticulturae 579: 49-55.
Â  Callac P. et al. (1993). Morphological, genetic, and interfertility analyses reveal a novel, tetrasporic variety of Agaricus bisporus from the Sonoran desert of California. Mycologia 85, 835â€?51.
 Kerrigan R.W. (1994). The heterothallic life-cycle of Agaricus bisporus var. burnettii and the inheritance of its tetrasporic trait. Exp Mycol 18, 193â€?10.
 Callac P. et al. (2003). A novel homothallic variety of Agaricus bisporus comprises rare tetrasporic isolates from Europe. Mycologia 95: 222-231.
 Rodier A. et al. (2000). Breeding brown hybrids of button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) from a factorial cross. Mushroom Science. 15.
 Foulongne-Oriol M. et al. (2010). An expanded genetic linkage map of an intervarietal Agaricus bisporus var. bisporus Ã— A. bisporus var. burnettii hybrid based on AFLP, SSR and CAPS markers sheds light on the recombination behaviour of the species. Fung Genet Biol 47: 226-236.
 Foulongne-Oriol M. et al. (2009). Novel microsatellite markers suitable for genetic studies in the white button mushroom Agaricus bisporus. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 84: 1125-1135.
 Largeteau et al. (2011). Diversity in the ability of Agaricus bisporus wild isolates to fruit at high temperature (25 Â°C). Fung Biol 115: 1186-1195Â
 Sabourin R.E. et al. (2008). Variation in agaritine levels among individuals in natural populations of Agaricus bisporus. Science and cultivation of edible and medicinal fungi: Mushroom Science XVII. M. van Gruening (Ed.).Â 184-190.
 Foulongne-Oriol M. et al. (2012a). QTL mapping of yield-related components and oligogenic control of the cap colour in the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus. Appl Environ Microbiol 78: 2422-2434.
 Foulongne-Oriol M. et al. (2012b). Relationship between yield components and partial resistance to Lecanicillium fungicola in the button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, assessed by quantitative trait locus mapping. Â Appl Environ Microbiol 78: 2435-2442. Â
 Morin E. et al. (2012) Genome sequence of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus reveals mechanisms governing adaptation to a humic-rich ecological niche. PNAS early edition, www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1206847109.
back to the beginning
Dr. Rabindra Nath Verma
National Research Centre for Mushroom,
Chambaghat, SOLAN (H.P.) INDIA
India is fortunate to have a varied agro-climate, abundance of agro-wastes, relatively low-cost labor and a rich fungal biodiversity.Â These factors combined make India a potential major producer of temperate, tropical and subtropical mushroom species.Â Moreover, its enormous population could support the large-scale consumption of nutritious mushrooms by a significant health-conscious urban population as well as the rural masses struggling with hunger and malnutrition, particularly vegetarians who rely heavily on a cereal-based diet.Â In view of these unique strengths, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) emphasized the adoption of mushrooms as an ideal food for the protein-hungry masses of developing countries.Â And, accordingly, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, the principal organization formulating and guiding farm research activities of the country, sanctioned a program â€œDevelopment of Mushroom Cultivation in Himachal Pradeshâ€?
The newly sanctioned mushroom development program was set-up at Solan, a small town situated about 45 km from Shimla, the erstwhile summer capital of British India.Â The program functioned under the auspices of Agriculture College, HPKVV, Palampur, and subsequently under the Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry at Chambaghat, Solan (Verma,2004), which had made some pioneering contributions to mushroom research in India.Â The program was launched in 1961 by the state government of Himachal Pradesh and was later (1971-79) converted to the ICAR Coordinated Mushroom Research Project, with Solan as the main centre and with three coordinating centres located at Ludhiana, New Delhi, and Bangalore in order to give the necessary research support to different mushroom species requiring different climatic conditions.Â At about the same time, the FAO appointed mushroom consultants to Solan [Drs. E.F.K. Mantel (1965-72) and W.A. Hays (1974) and Mr. J. Tunny (1977-82)] to help create the infrastructure for basic and applied mushroom research, and to rapidly transfer new technologies, including spawn and ready-made substrates, to commercial growers.Â
In 1983, the ICAR Coordinated Research Project Centre at Solan was elevated to the National Centre for Mushroom Research and Training (NCMRT), with an all-India mandate to conduct research on mushroom production, protection, preservation and utilization as well as to train scientists, teachers, extension-workers and growers.Â ICAR also sanctioned an all-India Coordinated Mushroom Improvement Project (AICMIP) with headquarters at NCMRT, Solan and five coordinating centres [Punjab Agril, University (PAU), Ludhiana; G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (GBPUAT), Pantnagar; Tamilnadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore; Mahatma Phule Agricultural University (MPAU) Pune, and Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya (IGKVV), Raipur] to conduct mushroom research in different agro-climatic zones and also to conduct multi-location testing of the new techniques developed at Solan.Â Since then, not only the mandates of NCMRT were periodically revised and enlarged but the project was renamed the NRCM (National Research Centre for Mushroom) and recently elevated to the Directorate of Mushroom Research (DMR).Â Similarly, the AICMIP was periodically expanded to cover the remaining regions of the country.Â Presently, the project has 12 coordinating centres and three cooperating centres, reaching almost every agro-ecological zone in the country.
As the research base and the necessary infrastructure were created during 1961-1983, some enterprising growers and entrepreneurs in H.P. and Kashmir valley founded the Mushroom Industry of India by launching the first commercial farms producing the white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus).Â These farms took advantage of the cooler climate in their locations, although the first such farm was started at Solan by a woman entrepreneur Mrs. Madhu Kohli in 1965.Â Other early commercial farms were (i) M/s Tegh Masarado, Dochi, Chail (H.P.) established by Captain Amrinder Singh, Maharaja of Patiala in 1968, (ii) Sehgal Mushroom Farm, Kasauli (H.P.), (iii) Colonel Kakâ€™s Mushroom Farm, Srinagar and (iv) Brigadier Harmander Singhâ€™s Farm at Ambala.The success of the pioneering commercial farms motivated other enterprising farmers to grow button mushrooms under natural climatic conditions during winter season only using low-cost improvised facilities.Â Here, the story of a sleepy village Badhana in the District Sonipat (Haryana) is worth recalling, where a schoolteacher Master Jagdev Singh first cultivated button mushrooms with a low-cost technology learned at NCMRT, Solan.Â This technology spread like wildfire throughout the immediate area, making Haryana a frontrunner in village-level button mushroom farming.Â Soon after, similar farms developed in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh and even in the Neelgiri hill areas of south India.Â In fact, the strong demand for mushrooms in metropolis Delhi, Calcutta and Bombay and large cities, such as Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Bhubaneshwar and Jamshedpur, encouraged the commercial-scale seasonal farming of mushrooms, which quickly took form as a thriving cottage industry in north west India (Figs.1 & 2).
Figures 1 & 2. Seasonal farms near Delhi and Ooty.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT
Research support for mushroom growing continued to expand through contributions from diverse organizations, such as (i) Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) by way of their research laboratories at Srinagar (J&K) and Jorhat (Assam), (ii) ICAR, through the Indian Agriculture Research Institute, New Delhi, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, Bangalore and Research Complex for NEH region, Shillong and (iii) agricultural and traditional Universities, Colleges of Agriculture, Calcutta and Pune, etc.Â Also, the government of India, during the VIII 5-year plan (1993-97), launched a massive drive to create 30 composting units and 29 spawn laboratories in 21 states dispersed throughout the country.Â This effort included an allocation of Rs. 1.36 Crores (ca. US$270,000) for training 27,300 mushroom growers.
International cooperation also continued to strengthen the infrastructure in India.Â Under an Indo-Dutch mushroom project, modern facilities to produce pasteurized short-method compost, casing soil and quality spawn were established in 1988 at four sites located at Palampur, Srinagar, Jeolikote (U.P.) and Bangalore (Karnataka).Â In addition, major contributions in mushroom research came from the National Center for Mushroom, Solan and can be summarized as follows:Â
1. Wild germplasm was cultured, identified and conserved in a gene bank with cryopreservation facilities.Â DNA fingerprinting of 43 accessions of A. bisporus, 9 of A. bitorquis, 51 of morels and 61 of different specialty mushrooms was done using RAPD, AFLP and ITS analysis.Â Two high-yielding SSIs (NCS-100 and NCS-101) and hybrid NCH-102 of A. bisporus were released for cultivation in 1997.
2. Production technology for specialty mushrooms Lentinula edodes, Auricularia polytricha, Flammulina velutipes, Calocybe indica, A. bitorquis, Volvariella volvacea and Ganoderma lucidum was standardized.Â Substrate pasteurization by chemical treatments for specialty mushrooms and long-method composting for the button mushroom were developed and adopted by growers.Â Organic production also was achieved for the button mushroom.
3. Preventive and curative measures were devised for of dry and wet bubble diseases.Â The bacterium Serratia marcescens was identified as a bio-control agent for beetles in oyster mushrooms.
4. Storage in perforated polythene packs (<100 gauge) at 5 ËšC was shown to enhance shelf life and preserve nutrition of the button mushroom.Â Ready-to-use mushroom curry in retortable pouches, mushroom preserve (Murabba) of button mushrooms and sugar-candy of oyster mushrooms were developed as new products.
5. Spent mushroom substrates were found to be effective as organic manure for field crops.
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back to the beginning
Dr. EustÃ¡quio Souza Dias,Â
Laboratory of Edible Mushrooms,Â
Department of Biology, Federal University of Lavras
37200-000, Lavras-MG, Brazil
Brazil is not included among the statistics relating to worldwide mushroom production. The country does not even appear in the data provided by the ERS (Economic Research Service/U.S. Department of Agriculture) in the Mushroom Industry Report (1) although it produces more mushrooms than some of the countries that are listed. According to official IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e EstatÃstica, 2) statistics, Brazil produced 5,894 tons of mushrooms in 2006 which, in keeping with the Mushroom Industry Report cited above would place Brazil in 34th position among the group of 70 listed countries.
Mushroom cultivation in Brazil has a high growth potential although there is no established tradition of mushroom production and consumption. This potential is evidenced by official statistics that, while occasionally lacking accuracy, clearly demonstrate growth of the activity within the country. According to the IBGE, mushroom production in 2006 was 33.2% higher compared to 1996 and, while this might be perceived as a relatively small increase over a ten year term, it represents a significant improvement considering the challenges faced by farmers during that period.
In addition to the lack of a fully developed internal market, Brazilian farmers faced strong competition from processed mushrooms imported from China which, contrary to European and North American preferences, are favored by Brazilian consumers. In 1998, the Brazilian government introduced an antidumping measure to protect the countryâ€™s farmers against imported Chinese mushrooms. Although this resulted in a decline in mushroom imports, official statistics revealed that these continued throughout the period of the antidumping measure, which has now expired and has not been renewed. In the light of such competition, the growth in Brazilian mushroom production attained during the last decade has been significant and auspicious.
In order to understand the reality surrounding mushroom production in Brazil, and how it has survived despite great challenges, it is necessary to recognize its various peculiarities. Firstly, mushroom cultivation in Brazil was initiated by Asian immigrants, mainly Chinese and Japanese, who introduced button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) cultivation using very simple facilities. For small farmers, this reality persists today, restricting cultivation of this mushroom to regions with a mild climate and high relative humidity. Despite the poor conditions, low production costs guaranteed the farmersâ€?survival. At the same time, specialized companies appeared in the country, which incorporated modern technology in terms of both compost production and mushroom cultivation techniques. These advances allowed the companies to maintain the continuous mushroom production required to ensure supermarket contracts and establish distribution chains (3).Â
Processed mushrooms provided a major stimulus to the domestic market, turning the mushroom into a relatively common food for the Brazilian consumer, mainly for the preparation of special dishes. However, as the market became established, the mushroom distributors began to seek new suppliers in China, who offered lower priced but often inferior quality products. In order to survive this new challenge, Brazilian farmers had to readapt and improve their competitiveness. A key point for the more well-structured farmers was the processing and sales of preserved mushrooms, which guaranteed a higher value-added product. Consequently, many farmers began to supply pre-processed mushrooms to the industry, which then finalized the processing and packaged the product. Other farmers created their own product brands and distributed these directly to the supermarket chains. With the elimination of the distributor intermediary, these farmers became more competitive and, at the same time, received more income for their work.
Despite this advance, Brazilian farmers continued to face serious problems. A major concern was the extensive use of sodium bisulfite in the mushroom preservation process. This practice had already been banned in other countries, and constituted a barrier for the more discerning consumers. Although sodium bisulfite was not essential for the traditional canning processes in which autoclaving is used, farmers considered use of the chemical to be essential when the mushrooms were distributed in non-autoclavable plastic containers. Therefore, in order for the Brazilian farmer to produce a healthier product for the more demanding consumers, alternatives to the use of sodium bisulfite in the preservation process are essential.
Another major problem faced by Brazilian farmers has been the lack of any official registration of pesticides for the control of pests and diseases. Officially, only low pesticide volumes are used, and the manufacturing companies are not interested in registering their products for mushroom cultivation due to high costs involved. Therefore, it is necessary for public organs, along with the research institutions, to seek a solution to this problem. Until this happens, Brazilian farmers will use pesticides in a clandestine way, without adequate guidelines and without official controls. This situation, besides damaging the farmers themselves, hampers the development and supervision of appropriate good practices, ultimately resulting in harm to the Brazilian consumer.
Official statistics do not discriminate between the different types of mushrooms cultivated in Brazil but, in terms of volume, the button mushroom is responsible for the bulk of production. Nevertheless, Brazilians have also been consuming other mushroom species. For example, during the 1990s, there was considerable publicity about the medicinal mushroom, Agaricus subrufescens, popularly known as the Sun Mushroom, which is sold today in Brazilian markets in dehydrated form for the preparation of tea, or in the form of capsules as a dietary supplement and as a stimulant of the immunological system (4). Since that time, many consumers began to see mushrooms, not only as a source of food, but also as a benefit to health, thereby awakening an interest in other mushrooms. Consequently, the shiitake and oyster mushrooms, previously restricted to the Asian communities, began to occupy other niches in the market. Market growth was greatly favored by the fact that these mushrooms are preferably sold fresh, thereby benefiting domestic producers as they were less exposed to international competition.
Nowadays, there is evidence of a continuous expansion of shiitake and oyster mushroom production, which demand higher prices in markets compared to the button mushroom. Contrary to the situation relating to the button mushroom, Brazilians have learned to consume specialty mushrooms in their natural (fresh), rather than processed, form. Since these mushrooms run a smaller risk of competition from imports, many farmers are shifting from button mushroom production to shiitake and oyster mushroom cultivation. Therefore, the increase in total mushroom production recorded in the official data published in 2006 may have originated in large part from specialty mushroom cultivation. Although there are no official data, present demand for mushrooms among Brazilian consumers appears to exceed current production levels, which indicates that future investment interest in this sector will increase.
The Brazilian government has demonstrated immense interest in projects that benefit family-based agriculture, which is characterized by relatively small land requirements and household-sourced labor. In this context, shiitake and oyster mushroom cultivation are ideal since only small cultivation areas are required, and the added value they represent is superior to any other horticultural product. Therefore, it is essential that Brazilian research institutions develop projects that allow higher public investment aimed at developing this sector as a model for family agriculture, thereby bringing social benefits and contributing to the growth of the mushroom industry in Brazil.
The author wishes to thank the Brazilian Agency FAPEMIG (Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa de Minas Gerais) for financial support to mushroom research in Brazil.
1) Mushroom Industry Report (94003). ERS- Economic Research Service/U.S. Department of Agriculture. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/MannUsda/viewDocumentInfo.do? documentID= 1395Â 12/01/2013
2) IBGE. Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e EstatÃstica. www.sidra.ibge.gov.br/bda/tabela/ protabl.aspÂ 12/01/2013
3) Dias ES (2010) Mushroom cultivation in Brazil: challenges and potential for growth. CiÃªncia e Agrotecnologia, v. 34, n. 4, p. 795-803.
4) Dias ES, Abe C, Schwan RF (2004) Truths and myths about the mushroom Agaricus blazei. Scientia Agricola, v.61, n.5, p.545-549.
back to the beginning
Dr. Manjit Singh
Director, DMR, SolanÂ
The First International Conference on Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products was held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in August 1993, since when subsequent conferences have been organized at regular intervals in several countries. After the successful organization of the 7th ICMBMP at Archachon, France, the 8th ICMBMP is scheduled to be held in India during 19-22 November, 2014. This will be a unique opportunity to interact with mushroom researchers from different countries and to gain exposure to mushroom research and development in India.Â
India is a country of diverse climate and culture. Founded on an ancient civilization, the country is endowed with heritage sites of great historical value and aesthetic beauty, and a wide range of landscapes - deserts and rivers, forests and mountains, plateaus and plains. Delhi, the venue of the conference, has long been the capital of India and is sprinkled with captivating ancient monuments, fascinating museums and art galleries, architectural wonders, a vivacious performing-arts scene, fabulous eating places and bustling markets.
This conference aims to increase interaction and the exchange of information among researchers working on various facets of mushrooms including (i) Biodiversity and Conservation, (ii) Mushroom Biology & Biotechnology (iii) Genomics, Genetics & Breeding, and (iv) Nutritional & Medicinal Aspects, and Innovative Mushroom Products. Not only will the conference provide the opportunity to meet colleagues and friends but will also serve to strengthen collaboration between mushrooms scientists, farmers and mushroom entrepreneurs, including people from industry. Accordingly, the programme of the 8th ICMBMP will comprise plenary lectures together with presentations/displays of the research achievements of young scientists. A trade exhibition, to run concurrently with the scientific programme, will provide an opportunity for the mushroom industry to showcase their services, products and technologies.
The Local Organising Committee consists of members of the Directorate of Mushroom Research and the Mushroom Society of India. For further details, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We are seeking people from different countries to join the scientific committee with responsibility for developing the scientific programme and reviewing manuscripts submitted for inclusion in the conference proceedings.Â Interested researchers are requested to email their bio-data to firstname.lastname@example.org. A dedicated 8th ICMBMP website is under construction and will be accessible in due course. Until then, further information will be made available on the website of Mushroom Society of India: http://www.mushroomsociety.in/. The Organising Committee extends a warm welcome to you to attend this conference on Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products in New Delhi.
Wait for the first call for papers soon
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Dr. Qing Shen
Kennett Square Specialties, LLC.,Â
PO Box 652, Kennett Square, PAÂ
Dr. Daniel J. Royse retired in June 2012 after 34 years service as a Professor and Mushroom Extension Specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology, the Pennsylvania State University (USA). Throughout his tenure, Danâ€™s research has been focused on improving the production efficiency and quality of edible mushrooms in order to minimize production costs and maximize farm profits.
Dr. Royse is notable for his many scientific achievements, including over 300 scientific publications and innumerable conference lectures at both national and international level. He has given outstanding service to his university and to the mushroom community at large and, in 2011, was awarded the Outstanding Research Award at the International Conference on Mushroom Biology and Mushroom Products held in Arcachon, France. Â
Dr. Daniel J. Royse during a trip to Tropical Mexico in 2010.
Dr. Royse is an individual who has had a profound influence on the life of many people, and has used his expertise and experience to help countless other researchers achieve their goals. He has travelled to many countries to offer advice and counsel that has benefitted mushroom growers worldwide. As a university professor, not only was he an outstanding mentor but also a good friend, and his students will never forget the many hours spent with them both in and out of the laboratory. Â
Although retired, Dan is not yet ready to leave the mushroom field, and we believe that his passion for mushroom research will continue to carry him to even greater heights.Â We truly wish him good luck and good health in his retirement, and hope that he will finally find more time to do the things he likes, such as sitting back and having a glass of wine during the day. Cheers!
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Professor Marian Petre
University of Pitesti, Faculty of Sciences
Department of Natural Sciences
1 Targul din Vale Street
Pitesti, zip code 110040
Arges County, RomaniaÂ
Biotechnology and bioengineering are two complementary disciplines that are focused primarily on the application of concepts and methods involving biological systems (microorganisms, plant and animal cells/tissues), and secondarily on the use of biophysics, biochemistry, mathematics and computer science to solve real-world problems related to life sciences. These disciplines can be applied to in vitro studies directed at discovering new knowledge relating to the complexity of the mushroom life cycle through the use of pure cultures grown in the laboratory or by employing industrial-scale robotic systems able to drive and control all the physical and chemical parameters that influence mushroom development bioprocesses.
Viable solutions to some of the unsolved problems were presented, and prospective applications were discussed, by established experts working at prestigious universities and research institutes worldwide within the framework of the International School of Advanced Studies on Mushroom Biotechnology and Bioengineering (ISASMBB), organized by and held at the University of Pitesti from 23rd to 27th September, 2012. This event was supported by the Consiliul NaÅ£ional al CercetÄƒrii ÅžtiinÅ£ifice din RomÃ¢nia (National Council of Scientific Research from Romania) - Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (CNCSâ€“UEFISCDI) through project No. PN-II-ID-SSA-2012-2-012.
The ISASMBB was addressed principally to the needs of young researchers (i.e. doctoral and masterâ€™s students) working in the biological sciences, biotechnology, bioengineering and related specialisations. The programme of scientific lectures covered the following topics: a modern view on the current status, future trends and unsolved problems relating to medicinal mushroom research, the cultivation, biochemistry and molecular biology of the edible straw mushroom Volvariella volvacea, characteristics of new biotechnological procedures for high efficiency mushroom cultivation, cultivation of Ganoderma lucidum and Grifola frondosa and production of their pharmaceutically-active components, natural biodiversity and molecular genetics for breeding Agaricus sp., the cultivation of Agaricus subrufescens in Europe, the major diseases affecting Agaricus bisporus and their biological control, the exploitation of the biotechnological potential of agricultural by-products through mushroom cultivation, the use of spent mushroom substrate for degrading organochlorine pesticides and low input technology for pasteurizing substrate for oyster mushroom production.
See here the book of abstracts
To disseminate the scientific data presented during the event, all the contributions to the ISASMBB have been complied into a single volume entitled â€œMushroom Biotechnology and Bioengineeringâ€?and published by CD Press Publishing House of Bucharest. We trust this volume will contribute to a better understanding of new trends in applied biotechnology and bioengineering involving the use of edible and medicinal mushroom species as the main biological tools in the agro-food industry, medicine and health care, biopharmaceutical production, molecular genetics and environmental protection.Â
ISASMBB Joint Chairmen: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marian Petre and Prof. Dr. Marin Berovic.
Figures, from left to right: a) Welcome dinner for Keynote Speakers b) Lecturers visiting Dr. Ionel Didea Rector of the University of Pitesti c) Delegates attending the School of Advanced Studies on Mushroom Biotechnology and Bioengineering D) Walking around Pitesti.
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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 JosÃ© E. Sanchez email@example.com, John Buswell firstname.lastname@example.org, Daniel J. Royse email@example.com or Helen Grogan firstname.lastname@example.org.
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