Volume 4 Part 1 Article 11: Chemical and Vitamin Composition of the Mycelium of Wood-Rotting Basidiomycètes

Volume 4 Part 1 Article 11
Year 1960
Title: Chemical and Vitamin Composition of the Mycelium of Wood-Rotting Basidiomycètes
Author: M.W. Jennison


The wood-rotting Basidiomycètes, like the common edible mushroom, can be grown readily in aerated, liquid culture (submerged culture). Pellets of mycelium, not spore structures, are produced. These cellulolytic fungi can break down the cellulose-lignin complex which consistutes wood, and are able to ferment many different carbon compounds. The nutritive value of these organisms is being investigated because they can be grown in a variety of cheap waste materials which are cellulosic or carbohydrate in composition. These wastes include bran, cannery waste, com cobs, sulfite liquor, spent brewers’ grains and wood wastes. Thus, it may be possible to utilize the wood-rot fungi for the disposal of these wastes and at the same time produce useful fermentation products from the wastes, then harvest the mycelium for its nutritive value as an animal-feed supplement.

Chemical analysis of the mycelium of 17 species of wood-rot fungi grown in several nutrient mixtures showed the following average values (as per cent of dry mycelial weight): protein, 31.9; fat, 6.3; fiber, 9.1; ash, 4.50; nitrogenfree extract, 48.8. Determination of the vitamin content gave these average values (as micrograms per gram of dry mycelium): thiamin, 37.9; riboflavin, 31.9; niacin, 222; biotin, 0.93; pantothenic acid, 21.6; folic acid, 43.8; pyridoxine, 5.3.

The composition of the mycelia varied as regards both the species of organism and the culture media used. Animal feeding experiments with each of the 17 species of fungi, using guinea pigs and mice, showed no toxic effect of any of the fungi. Over a period of time, however, fungal mycelium as the only food did not constitute an adequate diet. The composition of the mycelia of the wood-rotting Basidiomycètes is similar to that of the edible spore structure of a related Basidiomycète, the commercial mushroom, Agaricus campestris.

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