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Finding the Health Benefits of Mushrooms


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Time: 3:34 Added: 3/30/2011
Views: 4863

David Law's company produces mushrooms for culinary and herbal uses. But the parts of the mushroom used for each is different. Here he talks about the differences and why they are different.

Contributor(s): Law, David
Tags: bacteria, food, herbs, cooking, fungus, viruses, mushrooms
Transcript:

Scott: David, talk about the different kinds of mushrooms that you have, and the health benefits, specifically of either mushrooms through your cooking, or through a dietary supplement.

David Law: One of the major distinctions between our health food line of products and our culinary lineup product is that . . . give you a little background on the life cycle of a mushroom. The analogy is if you eat an apple, you have seeds inside the apple, you bite on it and you spit it out. That's what the tree wants you to do. The apple tree seed will grow another apple. They make the apple so enticing that you eat it. Mushroom's the same thing. A mushroom does it a little differently because they have to send the spore out. The incidence of the spore landing on the right location is very rare. 

Scott: Mm-hmm.

David Law: They form millions and millions of spores, whereas the apple with just a few seeds. 

When you eat a mushroom, it's like eating an apple. But the apple comes from the apple tree. The apple tree stands there for years. They stand there, they do photosynthesis for the leaf, acquire food. They would excrete metabolites to defend against insects, fungal infection, bacteria infection. 

Scott: Mm-hmm.

David Law: It's a vegetative stage that they have to protect themselves. Then, each year, they would give you a few apples. Then the species would be perpetuated. The apple actually hijack human being to take care of them. Right?

The same thing with mushroom. The tree of the mushroom is basically the mycelium. The mycelium is like the moldy material on a piece of stale bread, you see some mold, you see some hair like mats of material growing. That's the mycelium. 

In nature, what happens is the mycelium would be growing under the forest floor, on the tough material from the tree, leaf droppings. If you turn some leaves over, you see some white mat material. Those are the mycelium. The mycelium occupy about 95% of the life cycle of the organism. They keep expanding their territory, and each year they will sprout a few mushrooms out, to send the spores so they will guarantee the species is perpetuated. 

In doing that stage, what happens is they would express a lot of metabolites. The primary metabolites are used for facilitatory functions, like digestion of food, and then they also express a lot of secondary metabolites. The secondary metabolites are material to defend against competition, so they would have a lot of viruses and bacteria and insects and other things that they want to fend off. 

Those are the metabolites we want to capture in our product. We're focusing on the tree, not so much on the apple. We focus on the mycelium. Not so much on the mushroom. The stage of the mushroom is the reproductive stage. We really want to focus on the vegetative stage, where they produce a lot of metabolites. That's what we try to capture.
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