Book Review

Mushrooms as Functional Foods
edited by Peter C.K. Cheung

From The Mushroom Growers' Newsletter - May 2009

Cover: Mushrooms as Functional Foods

This 2008 book, edited by Peter C.K. Cheung and published by Wiley, is a collection of six papers by various authors: "Overview of Mushroom Cultivation and Utilization as Functional foods", "Molecular Analysis and Genomic Studies of Shiitake Mushroom", "Nutritional Value and Health Benefits of Mushrooms", "Sclerotia: Emerging Functional Food Derived from Mushrooms", "Antitumor and Immunomodularatory Activities of Mushroom Polysaccharides", and "Regulatory Issues of Mushrooms as Functional Foods and Dietary Supplements: Safety and Efficacy." It's clearly food science oriented.

This book will be of little use to the typical grower, since it is either too elementary (the overview of cultivation) or too technical (genomic studies). The papers on nutrition, health and regulation provide a good background to the policy issues that limit the broader use of mushrooms for health. We found the sclerotia article to be most interesting as it suggests that there is a good market for products produced from sclerotia of species like Grifola umbelata, Omphalia lapidenscens, Xylaria nigripes, Pleurotus tuber-regium and Polyporus rhinocerus. The dietary fiber market seems to be most promising.