With mushrooms growing in awareness and consideration among consumers nationwide, the Mushroom Council is making a $1.5 million investment in research to help broaden understanding of the food’s nutritional qualities and overall health benefits.
In its September 5 board meeting, the Mushroom Council voted unanimously for the two-year research initiative. The vote came after a nutrition summit in April to identify research priorities, followed by a request for and review of proposals over the summer.
“This is an auspicious time for the mushroom industry. Awareness has never been higher and adoption of techniques like The Blend™ continue to keep mushrooms top of mind,” said Bart Minor, president and CEO of the Mushroom Council. “Prior to the passage of the Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1990, little was known about the health and nutrition benefits of mushrooms. The industry’s commitment to research over the decades has significantly advanced our understanding and appreciation for mushrooms’ inherent nutrition qualities. We look forward to continuing this commitment with the next chapter of research investment.”
In April, the Mushroom Council invited 26 researchers and council board members who reviewed past council research projects and established criteria for new project proposals. Following the summit, the group identified neurocognition and food pattern modeling as research priority areas and issued two requests for proposals to the nutrition research community. The council received 15 proposals that were reviewed by the council’s scientific Research Advisory Panel. The final proposals recommended for funding at the September board meeting include: nutrimetabolomics and markers of health promotion of mushrooms in healthy eating patterns; modeling the effects of substituting and/or adding a full serving of mushrooms to healthy eating patterns; insights into mushrooms’ relationship with cognitive health in older adults; study on mushrooms’ impact on brain health in animal modeling; investigating mushroom consumption and preference among preschoolers; analysis of mushrooms for bioactives/ergothioneine for inclusion in USDA database.
Since 2002, the council has conducted research that supports greater mushroom demand by discovering nutrient and health benefits of mushrooms. Published results from these projects form the basis for communicating these benefits to consumers and health influencers.
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