Lentinula edodes, also known as the shiitake mushroom or oak mushroom is one of several marketed specialty mushrooms. The other names for these mushrooms are black mushroom, golden oak mushroom, sawtooth oak mushroom, and black forest mushroom. The shiitake mushroom is valuable for their culinary and medicinal properties. This mushrooms have been enjoyed widely for centuries in Asian countries and in small quantities by Native American.
It is the third most widely produced mushroom in the world and American. Manufacture of shiitake has increased faster than any other specialty mushroom. The shiitake can be described as a large, umbrella-shaped mushroom which is dark brown in color. In comparison with milk, eggs, soy beans, and meat, shiitake contains high vitamins and minerals including vitamins A, B,l B12, C, D and niacin. Its medicinal properties include antifungal, antiviral, and contains lentinan, a polysaccharide that has anti-tumor effects, which also protects your liver, relieves stomach ailments, anemia, and pleural effusion. The consumption of shiitake mushrooms can lower blood cholesterol levels and is reported to lower high blood pressure because of the eritadenine content. Shiitake also helpful for blood sugar stabilization, reduced platelet aggregation, and reduced atherosclerosis. In addition, shiitake mushrooms are a major diet essential in China, source of protein in Japan, and other parts of the world.
The history of shiitake cultivation is compiled by He Zhan in 1209 in the Records of Longquan County during the Southern Song dynasty. The description of shiitake cultivation from that literature was later crossed-referenced many times and finally modified in the first book on shiitake cultivation by a Japanese horticulturist, Sat? Ch?ry? in 1796. Shiitake mushrooms can be cultivated on a variety of hardwood logs including American beech, sugar maple, oak, and hophornbeam in the Northeast.
Softwood should not be used as a growing substrate to cultivate shiitake mushrooms because he resin of softwoods will frequently inhibit the growth of the shiitake mushroom. Shiitake grown under a forested canopy on warm and moist climates in southeast Asia and on the decaying wood of deciduous trees, particularly shii, chestnut, oak, maple, beech, sweetgum, mulberry, poplar, hornbeam, ironwood, and chinquapin (Castanopsis spp.). Lentinus edodes is largely produced in Japan, China and South Korea. It accounts for 10% of world production of cultivated mushrooms. It is also common in Australia and North America. Cultivated shi’itake is exported as it is an important commercial species with contribution about 30% of total yearly production of mushrooms. Hardwood logs are inoculated with the mycelium of the shiitake fungus in order to produce shiitake mushrooms.
Next, holes are drilled in the hardwood logs, and it is filled with cultured shiitake mycelium or inoculum and the filled holes are sealed with hot wax to complete the inoculation. The logs are placed under the closed canopy of a coniferous stand and are left to incubate for 12 to 15 months after the inoculation proces. Once incubation is complete, the logs are soaked in water for 24 hours.
Shiitake mushrooms will begin to fruit and can be harvested once fully ripe 7 to 10 days after soaking. There are many uses of fresh and dried mushroom in the East Asia cuisines. They are often sautéed in vegetarian dishes in China and served in miso soup in Japan. It acts as a flavour in many steamed and simmered cuisine. A basic research to evaluate whether consumption of shiitake mushrooms affects disease properties is continuously being done although no effect has been proven with adequate research until now. Rarely, consumption of slightly cooked or raw shiitake mushrooms may cause an allergic reaction called “shiitake dermatitis”, including a micro-papular rash that occurs all over the body.
This effect is more common in Asia but the occurrence in Europes may be increasing as shiitake consumption increases. To get rid of the allergenicity, complete cooking may be done. There is also a research investigating the use of shiitake mushrooms in production of organic fertilizer and compost from hardwood.