Nammex, the North American supplier of organic functional mushroom extracts, saw an increase in the amount of cultivated Turkey tail mushroom harvested by their partner farms in the third year of this initiative.
The mushrooms are cleaner and more consistent in quality as compared to wildcrafted supplies, with cultivation also removing pressure on the ecosystem as this species of mushroom sees rapid growth in demand.
“In 2021, we produced 8,000 kilos of dried mushrooms,” said Skye Chilton, CEO of Nammex. “We’re pleased with how well the cultivation program is scaling, producing 12,000 kilos in 2022, and 30,000 kilos in 2023. We’ve projected 80,000 kilos of dried material for 2024 with an ultimate goal of scaling to 150,000-200,000 kilos annually.”
The (cultivated) mushrooms are cleaner and more consistent in quality as compared to wildcrafted supplies
Turkey tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) grow all over the world and have been used traditionally for their immune supporting benefits.
Increasingly, they have also been utilised by Western health care practitioners, generating more demand for supply as well as raising their market value. Higher demand for wildcrafted material puts pressure on the wild collection.
Historically Nammex’s testing protocols have shown that wildcrafted material has inconsistent quality compared to the organically cultivated mushrooms.
In the US, dietary supplement ingredients are subject to analytical testing to screen for pesticides, herbicides, microbiological contamination and heavy metals, as well as identity.
Despite growing in the wild, Turkey tail has shown occasional pesticide and heavy metal levels that did not meet Nammex standards, so cultivation experiments were initiated with partner farms to find a suitable, high yielding cultivar that could grow on available wood-based materials.
Once these initial cultivation conditions were met, analytical testing demonstrated that the cultivated mushrooms were of consistent quality and regularly met higher standards than those set by regulatory agencies.
“We can lessen some of the demand for the wildcrafted Turkey tail, thereby reducing environmental harvesting stress, and at the same time optimise the health benefits with a higher quality mushroom,” Skye said.