Jeng-Leun Mau, Chieh-No Chang,
Shih-Jeng Huang, & Chin-Chu Chen talk with
ScienceWatch.com and answer a few questions about this
month's Emerging Research Front Paper in the field of
1. Maitake, morel, and termite mushrooms are three palatable mushrooms
well-known in the world. However, these fruiting bodies are rare and
difficult to cultivate in mass-production.
2. As an alternative or substitute, three mycelia are isolated from their
fruiting bodies and mass-produced from submerged fermentation, mainly for
the formulation of nutraceuticals and functional foods.
3. Our studies demonstrated that these mushroom mycelia have good
antioxidant properties in addition to their delicious taste.
Coauthor Chieh-No Chang
Coauthor Shih-Jeng Huang
Coauthor Chin-Chu Chen
4. The effective concentration of each antioxidant attribute assayed is
available for comparison.
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge?
Our paper describes the valuable antioxidant properties of three tasty
mycelia and examines the implication that hundreds of other
mushrooms—including fruiting bodies and mycelia—may possess
better antioxidant properties than these three mycelia, especially some
which are regarded as medicinal mushrooms.
Would you summarize the significance of your paper
in layman's terms?
Mushrooms possess all four functionalities of foods, which include
nutritional values, tasty properties, physiological effects, and cultural
Nowadays, due to an increased awareness of health issues, the physiological
functionality of mushrooms has been studied extensively, including their
antioxidant properties. Our paper provides information about these three
mycelia as possible protective agents in human diets which can help to
reduce oxidative damage.
How did you become involved in this research and
were any particular problems encountered along the way?
Jeng-Leun Mau: I have worked on mushrooms since my doctoral studies at Penn
State University in University Park, Pennsylvania—considered to be
the homeland of Agaricus mushrooms.
For more than 20 years, our research team had expanded studies from
Agaricus mushrooms to all kinds of commercial and medicinal
mushrooms, examining the cultivation of fruiting bodies to the submerged
and solid-state fermentation of mycelia.
We evaluated flavor, taste components, polysaccharides, physiological
components, and various functional properties, which included antioxidant
Mushrooms consist of all kinds of different higher fungi. However, some
people always think that mushrooms belong to only one species—the
common mushroom. This point of view really makes research funding and
publication difficult to obtain. For example, the research we described in
this paper was not financially supported.
Where do you see your research leading in the
Many functional components such as vitamin D, gamma-aminobutyric acid,
monacolin K, ergothioneine, and other active components are present in
mushrooms. Their content in mushrooms and their physiological effects are
areas of investigation.
Besides, incorporating fruiting bodies or mycelia into various food
products such as breads and noodles is also a practical way to extend and
broaden their consumption and provide their beneficial health effects. We
will focus our short-term efforts in these areas.
Do you foresee any social or political
implications for your research?
Our research and the research of others in the field will help people to
realize that it is beneficial to consume both culinary and medicinal
Jeng-Leun Mau, Ph.D.
Department of Food Science and Biotechnology
National Chung Hsing University
Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China
Max Best International Trade Co.
Taichung, Taiwan, Republic of China
Shih-Jeng Huang, Ph.D.
Department of Nutrition and Health Science
Chung Chou Institute of Technology
Yuanlin, Taiwan, Republic of China
Chin-Chu Chen, Ph.D.
Biotechnology Center, Grape King Inc.
Chungli, Taiwan, Republic of China