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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Development of edible and medicinal mushrooms as functional foods in Ghana

PI: Mary Baaru Obodai (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Food Research Institute)
U.S. Partner: Steven J. Schwartz (The Ohio State University)
Project Dates: August 2013 to March 2016
2-251 Panelist undertaking hedonic scale test of mushroom cereal blend
Panelist undertaking hedonic scale test of mushroom cereal blend (Photo courtesy Dr. Obodai).
Across the world, including Ghana, edible wild mushrooms are commonly collected when in season. Mushrooms are low in fat and sugars, a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals and most importantly, are the only vegetable that contains all nine essential amino acids. Edible mushrooms have attracted much interest as functional foods due to their antimutagenic, anti-tumor and anti-viral properties. Food product development must address these changing consumer demands; the development of a convenient mushroom-based functional food is one example. Thus, the goals of this project are to (1) develop methods to cultivate different mushrooms in Ghana and assess nutritional quality, (2) develop a mushroom-based infant functional food and (3) assess the consumer acceptability of the new mushroom product. Four species of mushrooms--two oyster mushrooms, monkey seat, and termite mushrooms--will be cultivated as part of the project, using agricultural residues and tissue culture methods to transform organic waste into food. Product development will initially focus on infant food, guided by the needs of consumers and considering both technical feasibility and profitability.

The U.S. partner will provide technical training to Dr. Obodai and a member of her group, and unemployed women and rural groups will be targeted as the workforce for production of the food products to be developed. The anticipated outcomes of the project include four mushroom species available for use and further product development, a new market-tested mushroom-based product ready for commercialization, and a trained workforce to grow and produce the initial mushroom product. Ultimately, the project researchers hope that expanding children’s diets to include mushroom products will reduce the burden of malnutrition and improve food security in Ghana and throughout Africa.
Summary of Recent Activities
In the 3rd quarter, The team is still carrying out sensory evaluation of the mushrooms; 20 tasters are being trained to come up with descriptors for new products developed before rating them. These new products include mushroom mixed with sweet potato mash, mushroom soup and mushroom weanimix. Nutritional analysis of mushroom weanimix is on-going as the team tries to obtain ethical clearance from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Ghana before training the care-givers in Madina, Accra
They have also started the process of obtaining patents for the three new mushroom based products developed.

In the summer, two Research Scientists - Ms. Matilda Dzomeku and Mrs Lynda Hagan visited the Department of Food Science and Technology at Ohio State University. During the visit, they were able to carry out the extraction of 57 different strains of indigenous Ghanaian mushrooms which were analyzed for the presence of Vitamin D. They also received hands on practice and training on sensory evaluation of a packaged sandwich product within the Consumer Sensory Testing group. Lastly, they held meetings with the owners of the Tiger Mushroom farms to discuss health benefits of different mushrooms that were analyzed.