There has been considerable interest in the production of mushroom mycelium ever since the first report of a process about a decade ago (1). If successful, such a process would offer a new and revolutionary method for food production. The mycelium like the fruiting body of the mushroom has been shown to be valuable nutritionally as a source of amino acids and B-complex vitamins (2, 3). The process is rapid, taking only 30 hours from start to completion (4), as compared with several months for the conventional method of mushroom production. Many of the large antibiotic producers, fermentation companies, and brewers have been interested since their large tanks and other equipment for the propagation and handling of microorganisms in quantities could be utilized for producing mushroom mycelium. The product is uniform, requires no hand labor, and its production can be completely mechanized. It is obvious from these considerations that the mycelium would be only a fraction of the cost of a similar quantity of mushrooms produced by the traditional method. Furthermore, in the production of the mycelium, one would not be limited by the size or the appearance of the mushrooms, but might produce many different species to yield different flavors. The mycelium would not serve as a substitute for the mushroom sporophore, however, since it lacks the structure and texture of the fruiting body, and this is of significant importance in a food product.
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