15 June 2024

Oyster mushroom flour, anyone?

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By: Rey Adriel Badrul Hisham, Michael Hoe

Our modern world has seen an explosion in the popularity of healthy lifestyles, with health foods being one of the hot topics people are talking about. One such food product that may revolutionise the health food industry is Floured Fruiting Body Base (FFBB) or mushroom flour.

As the name implies, this food product is made using the fruiting body base (Diagram B in the collage below) of a mushroom (in this case, oyster mushrooms). Mushroom flour is a healthier, chemical-free alternative to grain-based flours with a lower calorie count, being gluten-free and rich in fibre and proteins, protection from oxidative damage and possessing anti-cancer properties. However, as few people are unaware of this product’s existence, it is only natural that they will be sceptical towards it. As such, it is vital that we educate these people and show them the benefits being espoused.

Processing steps in producing the mushroom flour (Photo courtesy of Dr. Wan Abd Al-Qadr Imad Wan Mohtar)

“As it is made out of mushroom, of course it would be a healthier choice for human consumption!” Dr. Wan Abd Al-Qadr Imad Wan Mohtar said when asked about how healthy mushroom is. “The flour was tested in making various foods including buns and cookies, but the buns received a better rating than the cookies since it has an umami flavour.”

When compared to other flours, the bright umami flavours (the so-called 5th ‘taste’ which is known to be savoury tasting) present in this flour due to the mushrooms used in its production has potential in the culinary industry and could help revolutionise the basic ingredients in most flour-based cuisines. This umami flavour together with the health benefits will certainly be attractive to lot of food connoisseurs.

Mushroom flour production will also make use of the rarely used fruiting body, which is usually discarded, or as Dr. Wan Abd Al-Qadr Imad states: “It is also worth noting that this part of the mushroom ends up as fertilisers or as feed for farm animals.” Indeed, almost 17,000 tons of organic waste containing fruiting bodies is produced in Malaysia each day and even though nearly 80% of these wastes can be turned into compost for agriculture use, most of them just end up being discarded into landfills. By converting the fruiting body into flour, we will not only utilize the whole mushroom and thus the health benefits that come with it but also reduce the amount of organic waste produced after harvesting.

Mushroom flour is truly overlooked by the masses, not helped by its lack of distribution on the market. But we can reverse this by promoting the flour online, taking advantage of our heavily digitized and online society to increase awareness and thus availability. Truly, mushroom flours can help lead you and your family towards a better and healthier lifestyle.

Would you try oyster mushroom flour soon?

brown bread on white paper
Buns made from mushroom flour should be as tasty as normal ones, if not tastier, due to its natural umami flavour.

Rey Adriel Badrul Hisham is a student at the Faculty of Science, Universiti Malaya; while Michael Hoe is a Research Assistant at the Institute of Research Management and Services, Universiti Malaya. The authors may be reached at michaelhoe.hoe@gmail.com

Dr. Wan Abd Al-Qadr Imad Wan Mohtar is a senior lecturer at the Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Universiti Malaya. His current research interest is in the study of mushrooms, and he may be contacted at qadyr@um.edu.my