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Discovery enables production of vitamin-D enhanced mushrooms


Mississauga, ON – Scientist Ryan Simon at Cantox Health Sciences International and colleagues recently discovered a new commercial processing technology that is suitable for boosting the vitamin D content of mushrooms. In addition, it has no adverse effects on other nutrients. The technology, which involves exposing mushrooms to the same kind of ultraviolet light that produces suntans, can greatly boost mushrooms’ vitamin D content.

An initial study on the topic recently appeared in the ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The authors note that many people do not get enough vitamin D in their diets. Few natural foods are high in the vitamin, and there are limits on what foods can be fortified to boost the vitamin D content. Although few people realize it, mushrooms are an excellent natural source of vitamin D. Some producers have embraced results of earlier studies, suggesting that exposing mushrooms to ultraviolet B (UVB) light can significantly boost the vitamin D content.

The scientists set out to answer several questions about commercial-scale UV light processing of mushrooms. Among them: Does it produce consistently high levels of vitamin D and does it adversely affect other nutrients in mushrooms? They compared button mushrooms exposed to UVB light, those exposed to natural sunlight and those kept in the dark. The UVB-exposed mushrooms got a dramatic boost in vitamin D (700 percent more of the vitamin than those mushrooms exposed to no light) and the UVB processing had no effect on levels of vitamin C, folate, riboflavin, niacin and a host of other essential nutrients.

The authors acknowledge funding from the US Mushroom Council.