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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
IF: 1.423 5-Year IF: 1.525 SJR: 0.431 SNIP: 0.661 CiteScore™: 1.38

ISSN Print: 1521-9437
ISSN Online: 1940-4344

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v1.i1.10
pages 1-7

Global Impact of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms on Human Welfare in the 21st Century: Nongreen Revolution

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


The role of modern technology in human civilization is expanding every day. However, humans still face, and will continue to face, three basic problems: shortage of food, pollution of the environment, and diminishing quality of health. Mushrooms (macrofungi) not only can convert the huge lignocellulosic biomass waste into human food, but also can produce notable mycomedicinal/nutriceutical products that have many health benefits. The most significant aspect of mushroom cultivation, if it could be managed properly, is to create zero emissions. In addition, mushroom-based farming and industry can provide new employment opportunities. In 1994, the value of world mushroom production and mushroom medicinal products was estimated to be worth approximately 14 billion US dollars, which was about the same value as coffee production in 1997 (15 billion USD). It is expected that the rate of growth of trade for mushrooms and their products in the future could be greater than that of coffee products. Because mushrooms lack chlorophyll and are therefore nonphotosynthetic organisms, they cannot use solar energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into complex organic matter, as do common green plants. However, they can produce several groups of enzyme complex, which can convert the huge lignocellulosic waste materials into a wide diversity of products. These products have multibeneficial effects to human welfare (e.g., as food, health tonic and medicine, feed and fertilizers, and for protecting and regenerating the environment). In addition, cultivation and development of edible macrofungi and medicinal mushrooms can positively generate equitable economic growth that has already had an impact at national and regional levels. This impact is expected to continue increasing and expanding in the 21st century, because more than 70% of agricultural and forest materials are nonproductive and have been wasted in processing. Therefore, sustainable research and development of mushroom production (mushrooms themselves) and mushroom products (mushroom derivative) can become a "nongreen revolution."