Comparative characterization and toxicological evaluation of submerged and emersed cultivated edible mushroom mycelia versus corresponding fruiting bodies as sustainably produced foods of the future.

A research project of the Justus Liebig University Giessen in cooperation with Bosque Foods


The use of fungal mycelia as food is currently only possible after successful Novel Food testing, even if the corresponding fruiting bodies have already been consumed for thousands of years. The aim of this research project is to determine whether the separate assessment of fruiting body and mycelium is justified, e.g. due to their possibly different toxicological potential.


Use of mycelia as a sustainable and healthy source of protein.


The discovery and supply of sustainable and healthy food proteins are currently among the most urgent challenges for agriculture and the food industry. However, unlike the well-known and globally appreciated fruiting bodies of edible mushrooms, such as the mushroom, porcini or shiitake, basidiomycete mycelia are currently not yet available as food on the world market. Yet they are characterized by rapid growth and high-quality proteins. The widespread establishment of basidiomycete mycelia as foodstuffs is essentially limited by legal requirements within the framework of the Novel Food Regulation. Even if the corresponding fruiting bodies were verifiably consumed in the European Union before May 15, 1997, this does not apply to the dried mycelia. This research project is therefore dedicated to the question whether the mycelia show substantial similarities with their fruiting bodies and whether there are differences in the toxicological potential of both components. Furthermore, the aim is to establish cultivation on agroindustrial side streams as a source of C and N in order to make an important contribution to a successful circular economy.


Justus Liebig University Giessen

Project leaders: Prof. Dr. Holger Zorn and Prof. Dr. Gertrud Elisabeth Morlock

Research Associate: Bastian Loderhose

Cooperation partner: Bosque Foods GmbH