The Netherlands is one of the leading countries for the production of edible mushrooms worldwide. Mainly button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) is cultivated. The main competitors for the Dutch mushroom industry are the industries in Poland and Ireland. However, profits for the mushroom industry are under pressure and this has already been the case for a number of years. Innovation is essential.
Dutch growers of fresh mushrooms have three options to counteract this; lower production costs; combine cultivation with marketing their own mushrooms; or choosing a niche-strategy where clearly recognizable products, readily differentiated from other mushroom products are developed. This project is the first in a line of research that ultimately aims to develop a mushroom strain that has strong taste characteristics and which can be marketed as being a visibly different, high quality, healthy and sustainable product.
As a first step to achieve that ultimate goal, the project will generate knowledge on mushroom taste which will allow us to identify a new prototype mushroom variety. This will have a scientific impact, as the basic research on the molecular factors that determine mushroom taste is still in its infancy. It will have industrial impact as it will offer the private partners a new possibility to expand the current range of (fresh) mushroom products that can be produced. This will thus also expand consumer choice and also expand the economic viability of the industry. The end product, to be generated beyond the duration of this research project will have significant consumer impact by offering a new tasty fresh product that is low in calories, high in fiber and vitamins and which fits into a healthy diet.