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Three Main Sources of Mushroom Adulteration

The increasing popularity for medicinal mushroom products is fueling a growing market. The global market for commercial products is estimated at $5 billion USD, and the industry is estimated to grow as much as 10% per year over the next five years.

Such demand creates opportunities for fraudulent products. Many medicinal species, such as Reishi and Chaga, can be very expensive, making them attractive targets for adulteration. The rise in online sales channels has made it easier to sell adulterated products directly to consumers.

Mushroom products can be adulterated in several ways, affecting their quality, safety, and nutritional value.  Here are three ways in which mushroom products can be contaminated or adulterated:

1. Substituting or Mixing Species

  • Some vendors substitute lower-quality or cheaper mushroom species with higher-quality, more expensive varieties to increase profits

2. Additions and Adulterants

  • Particularly with powdered or capsule forms, cheaper materials like rice flour, barley, starch, or vegetable powders might be added to mushroom powders to increase weight and volume

3. Mislabeling

  • Some of the most significant mislabeling issues are Inaccurate labelling of source material (fruiting body versus mycelium), incorrect species, harvest date, or place of origin
  • Making unauthorized, false, or exaggerated health claims about the product can mislead consumers

Suppliers and consumers alike should consider what quality or authenticity testing is being provided to assure the identity and consistency of commercial mushroom products. Authenticity testing in laboratories can reveal key issues and can confirm or deny the value of the product.

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectroscopy is an accurate and reliable testing method for mushrooms. NMR is a non-targeted analytical technique that is commonly used in chemistry and biology to determine the molecular structure and composition of a sample.

As a non-targeted analytical technique, for any sample, NMR can provide information such as:

  • A comprehensive picture of the metabolomic profile of a product versus targeted methods that focus only on specific, pre-defined targets
  • Detailed information about the chemical composition of a product
  • The quantification of compounds present in a sample
  • The presence of adulterants
  • The source material (fruiting body versus mycelium)

Fight Adulteration! Learn more about the power of NMR and the testing services available at Purity-IQ.

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