Submerged Culture of Mushrooms in Bioreactors – Challenges, Current State-of-the-Art, and Future Prospects

Ya-Jie Tang*, Li-Wen Zhu, Hong-Mei Li and Dong-Sheng Li

Hubei Provincial Key Laboratory of Industrial Microbiology, College of Bioengineering, Hubei University of Technology, Wuhan 430068, PR China

Article history:

Received April 11, 2007
Accepted May 18, 2007

Key words:

mushroom, macrofungi, submerged fermentation, bioreactor, bioactive metabolites, fed-batch fermentation, oxygen transfer, shear and mixing, morphology and rheology, two-stage cultivation process


Medicinal mushrooms have profound health-promoting benefits. Recently, a number of substances of mushroom origin have been isolated, identified and shown to have physiological activities, such as antitumor, immunomodulating, cardiovascular, antihypercholesterolemia, antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, hepatoprotective, and antidiabetic activities. Currently, commercial products from medicinal mushrooms are mostly obtained through the field-cultivation of the fruiting body. However, in this case it is difficult to control the quality of the final product. Submerged fermentation of the mycelial form of mushroom-producing fungi has received much attention as a promising alternative for efficient production of the biomass of medicinal mushrooms and their active metabolites. However, in order for the production to be successful at industrial scale, various technical problems need to be solved, including characterization of the variations that occur during the submerged cultivation of mushrooms in bioreactors and their effects on growth and product formation. This review outlines the major factors that affect the submerged cultivation of mushrooms in bioreactors, including oxygen supply, shear and mixing, morphology and rheology, as well as two-stage cultivation strategies and high-cell-density cultivation strategies such as fed-batch fermentation.

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