What's for dinner this time?: DNA authentication of "wild mushrooms" in food products sold in the USA.

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From: PeerJ(Vol. 9)
Publisher: PeerJ. Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 7,126 words
Lexile Measure: 1560L

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Abstract :

Mushrooms have been consumed by humans for thousands of years, and while some have gastronomic and nutritional value, it has long been recognized that only select species of mushrooms are suitable for consumption. Adverse health effects of consuming poisonous mushrooms range from mild illness to death. Many valuable edible mushrooms are either impractical or unable to be grown commercially, requiring them to be harvested from the wild. In the U.S., products containing these wild-collected mushrooms are often sold with the nonspecific and undefined label "wild mushrooms," although in some cases particular species are listed in the ingredients. However, the ambiguity of the definition of "wild mushrooms" in foods makes it impossible to know which species are involved or whether they are truly wild-collected or cultivated varieties. As a consequence, any individual adverse reactions to consuming the mushrooms in these products cannot be traced to the source due to the minimal regulations around the harvest and sale of wild mushrooms. For this study, we set out to shed light on what species of fungi are being sold as "wild mushrooms" using DNA metabarcoding to identify fungal contents of various food products acquired from locally sourced grocers and a large online retail site. Twenty-eight species of mushroom were identified across 16 food products, ranging from commonly cultivated species to wild species not represented in global DNA databases. Our results demonstrate that "wild mushroom" ingredients often consist entirely or in part of cultivated species such as the ubiquitous white and brown "button" mushrooms and portabella (Agaricus bisporus), oyster (Pleurotus spp.) and shiitake (Lentinula edodes). In other cases truly wild mushrooms were detected but they were not always consistent with the species on the label. More alarmingly, a few products with large distribution potential contained species whose edibility is at best dubious, and at worst potentially toxic.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A670438908