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Science on Tap Explores Mushrooms, Their Genes and Our Health

by on May 21, 2019 11:02 AM

Nearly two-thirds of white-button mushrooms consumed in the United States come from Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and this month's Science on Tap will bring together a pair of Penn State researchers to share their insight into the popular fungus.

The discussion is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, at Federal Taphouse, 130 S. Fraser St.  Science on Tap is a monthly series designed to allow informal discussions between leading Penn State researchers and members of the public. The events are produced by the Penn State graduate student-run Science Policy Society.

On Tuesday night, professors Margherita Cantorna and David Geiser, will discuss their research with the public.

Cantorna is a distinguished professor of molecular immunology and nutrition and is the director of the Center for Molecular Immunology and Infectious Disease. She has expertise in immune-mediated diseases such as multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease and studies the effects of edible mushrooms on the gut.  

Edible white button mushrooms have health benefits including protecting the gut from injury," Cantorna said in a news release. "Eating one serving a day of white button mushrooms — 1 cup — has very few calories — 15 — and affects the kinds of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. The healthy bacteria that expand in the gut following the consumption of mushrooms can help with weight maintenance and glucose control.”

She added that these findings were made in mice after two to seven weeks of daily feeding.

Geiser is a professor of mycology, which is the scientific study of fungi, and is the director of the Fusarium Research Center at Penn State. His research focuses on the molecular evolutionary genetics of pathogenic and toxigenic fungi and his lab seeks to classify and understand the biology of different species of fungi.


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