The technology, which involves exposing mushrooms to the same kind of ultraviolet light that produces suntans, can greatly boost mushrooms' vitamin D content. It appears in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Ryan Simon and colleagues note that many people do not get enough vitamin D in their diets. Few natural foods are high in the vitamin, and there are limits on what foods can be fortified to boost the vitamin D content. Although few people realize it, mushrooms are an excellent natural source of vitamin D. Some producers have embraced results of earlier studies, suggesting that exposing mushrooms to ultraviolet B (UVB) light can significantly boost the vitamin D content.
The scientists set out to answer several questions about commercial-scale UV light processing of mushrooms. Among them: Does it produce consistently high levels of vitamin D and does it adversely affect other nutrients in mushrooms? They compared button mushrooms exposed to UVB light, those exposed to natural sunlight and those kept in the dark. The UVB-exposed mushrooms got a dramatic boost in vitamin D (700 percent more of the vitamin than those mushrooms exposed to no light) and the UVB processing had no effect on levels of vitamin C, folate, riboflavin, niacin and a host of other essential nutrients.
The authors acknowledge funding from the U.S. Mushroom Council.
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
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