To end off this month’s spotlight on research in the Xu Lab, the focus will be on current research projects with agricultural applications. These projects involve fungi that are directly harvested for food, fungi cultivated for fermentation or enzyme production, and research that addresses agricultural food security using molecular tools.
Edible mushrooms have high nutritional, medicinal, and economic value. Research in the Xu Lab has involved some key species commonly harvested for consumption in China: velvet pioppino (Agrocybe aegerita), shiitake (Lentinula edodes), and pine mushroom (Tricoloma matsutake) among others. We are working to further understand the genetics, phylogeography, and breeding of mushrooms of agricultural significance.
Many fungal species play central roles in the production of fermented foods and enzymes required in food processing. Students in the Xu Lab have contributed to reviews addressing the roles that filamentous fungi play in the production of fermented foods and recombinant enzymes in the juice and beverage industry.
Lastly, food security is incredibly important in modern agricultural systems. By employing strategies that attest to the traceability of foodstuffs, research in the Xu Lab provides reliable information in regards to the origin of farmed specimens and establishing a record for food production.