Shiitake mushrooms (pronounced (sifee ta'kay) are a traditional delicacy in Japan, Korea and China. For at least a thousand years, Shi:take mushrooms have been grown on logs, outdoors, in the temperate mountainous regions of Asia. To this day, Shiitakes figure as the most popular of all the gourmet mushrooms. Only in the past several decades have techniques evolved for its rapid cycle cultivation indoors, on supplemented, heat-treated sawdust-based substrates
Cultivation of this mushroom is a centerp^xe of Asian culture, having employed thousands of people for centuries. We may never know who actually first cultivated Shiitake. The first written record of Shiitake cultivation can be traced to Wu Sang Kwuang who was born in China during the Sung Dynasty (960-1127 AD). He observed that, by cE|ting logs from trees which harbored this mushroom, more mushrooms grew when the logslw^j gjfaked and striked". (See Figures 24 & 25). In 1904 the Japanese researcher Dr. ShozaburoWfflidj published the first studies of inoculating logs with cultured mycelium (Mimura, 1904; Mifnur^BlS). Once inoculated, logs produce six months to a year later. With the modern methods described here, the time period from inoculation to fruiting is reduced to only a few weeks.
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