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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
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ISSN Druckformat: 1521-9437
ISSN Online: 1940-4344

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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v8.i1.10
pages 1-17

Development of the Culinary—Medicinal Mushrooms Industry in China: Past, Present, and Future

Shu-Ting Chang
Department of Biology, Centre for International Services to Mushroom Biotechnology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong, China; and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, Australia


In 1978,I was invited to conduct the first Mushroom Training Workshop in China. At that time, the production of cultivated edible mushrooms in China was only 60,000 tons, which accounted for only 5.7% of total world production. However, in 2002, China's mushroom production was over 8.6 million tons and accounted for about 70% of the total world output. The year 1990 can be considered the turning point in mushroom production in China. It was the year in which, for the first time, China produced more than 1 million tons of cultivated edible mushrooms, accounting for more than 28% of world mushroom production. The number of species of both edible and medicinal mushrooms cultivated has also been increasing over the years. Whereas the dynamics of production have been maintained for quite a few years, recent data indicate that the buoyant development is far from reaching a peak. China is now the largest mushroom producer, consumer, and exporter in the world. The reasons underlying China's success in the development of its mushroom industry during the past two and half decades can be broadly summarized as follows: (1) the vision, strong leadership, and initiative of central and local governments in grasping the immense potential benefits of mushroom cultivation; (2) strong scientific support from academic institutions; (3) manifold innovations in mushroom cultivation technology by talented mushroom farmers; and (4) the growth of the domestic market as a result of a strong national economy, which has been a key factor in the expansion of mushroom cultivation in China. The complementary major challenges now facing the mushroom industry in China are entry into an era of improved management, marketing, and quality control of its mushrooms and mushroom products and further promotion of research. In particular, improvements in communication technology are vital for modern business transactions. Advancement of the Chinese mushroom community's standing internationally should also be encouraged by hosting more international conferences, producing and publishing more high-quality scientific articles in international journals, and even establishing a home-based international journal for mushroom sciences. This will then further contribute to, and have a great impact on, the development of the mushroom industry at national and international levels.

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