Nammex Achieves a Breakthrough in Mushroom Cultivation

Cultivated Turkey Tail is Available for the First Time

After three years of research and development, Nammex – an organic mushroom extract ingredient supplier – has achieved a breakthrough: Close to 80 tons of fresh Trametes versicolor, commonly known as turkey tail, have been cultivated and harvested for commercial purposes this year.

With that, Nammex is the first and only company in the world to cultivate turkey tail on a commercial basis. While wildcrafting is commercially viable in Asia, foraged mushrooms suffer quality issues – from differing substrates, adulteration with look-alike species, as well as possible mold contaminants and heavy metals accumulation.

turkey tail mushroom cultivation and growing

Nammex avoids issues associated with wildcrafting by growing turkey tail on an enriched sawdust substrate in an optimal growth environment; therefore, Nammex mushrooms are free from contaminating molds and insects, contain lower heavy metals, and are correctly identified 100% of the time.

“We’re able to harvest close to 80 tons now and plan to double that figure by next year,” says Nammex President, Jeff Chilton. “This will make a key organic mushroom extract exponentially more available to health and wellness companies that use our organic extracts in their branded retail products.”

Turkey tail, which has been used as an immune system potentiator in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years, often grows wild in clusters on tree trunks and logs on both living and dead coniferous and deciduous trees. A small, thin-fleshed species with pores instead of gills, it can be found in temperate climatic zones all over the world. Although turkey tail can be cultivated on wood logs or sawdust, its small size and low overall yields have made commercial cultivation economically unfeasible until now.

Nammex continues to set standards in the functional mushroom category. From introducing organic mushroom extracts in 1998 and validating reishi triterpenes in the 2000s, to guaranteeing beta-glucan content in 2015 and cultivating a higher quality turkey tail mushroom in 2021, the company supplies health and wellness companies with superior organic mushroom extracts.

Learn more about our turkey tail mushroom extract ingredients.

Nammex Testing Protocol Presented at Medicinal Mushroom Conference

Mushroom scientists from around the world gathered in Nantong, China, from September 19th-23rd, 2019, at the most recent ISMM conference on medicinal mushrooms. Sessions were divided into multiple categories: Biochemistry and Pharmacology, Nutritional and Medicinal Values, Biodiversity and Ethnomycology, and Cultivation.

Jeff Chilton IMMC10 Conference


Jeff Chilton, founder of Nammex, elaborated upon his previous presentation at the International Society of Mushroom Science conference in Amsterdam in 2016. Beta-glucan testing remains the Nammex primary standard, accompanied by ergosterol and ergothioneine. Using these three markers plus alpha-glucans (starch), Jeff created a fingerprint that can be utilized for quality control of commercial mushroom products.

Ergothioneine, an important new antioxidant primarily found in fungi, is now being tested and quantified in all Nammex extracts, a milestone in this category.

Jeff Chilton IMMC10 Conference Presentation

Jeff also presented research by Dr. Barry McCleary, founder of Megazyme, who was unable to attend. Dr. McCleary’s paper detailed the Megazyme beta-glucan testing method and its clear advantage for mushroom testing. Using this method, not only beta-glucans but also alpha-glucans (starches) can be determined. This means that various starch adulterants can be unmasked, an ongoing issue for mushroom products.

S.T. Chang, Professor Emeritus, a founding member of the organization, and godfather of medicinal mushrooms, was in attendance and taught a one day seminar. Professor Chang has been committed to the development and promotion of edible and medicinal mushrooms for over 60 years. In 2015, in a keynote presentation to the first Chinese Reishi Conference, Dr. Chang quoted information and charts from Jeff’s White Paper, Redefining Medicinal Mushrooms.

United States Pharmacopeia research study confirms lack of triterpenes and beta-glucans in many Reishi products

In August, 2017, Nature, the worlds most cited scientific journal, published in its Scientific Reports an important analytical study about Reishi mushroom products. United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) sponsored this project with a leading mushroom scientist from China, Dr. Li Shao-ping. In their research, 19 different Reishi mushroom products sold in the USA were tested for the compounds that characterize a real Reishi mushroom (fruiting body). They used scientifically identified and validated Reishi mushrooms as their standard.

In the USP study, they utilized various highly accurate testing methods including HPTLC, Colorimetric method, GC-MS, and High Performance Size-exclusion Chromatography. The results of their study demonstrated clearly that only 5 of 19 samples could be verified as genuine Reishi mushroom. Most of the other products lacked characteristic triterpenoids and also had a starch-like polysaccharide profile that was inconsistent with Reishi mushroom.

During the study, Jeff Chilton, founder of Nammex, was in contact with USP and alerted the researchers to quality control issues including mycelium products that are grown on grain. Many of the samples they had purchased, which were sold and labeled as mushroom, were in fact mycelium on grain. More importantly, because of his long-standing work with mushrooms, Jeff was allowed to submit some Nammex Reishi mushroom extract samples.

USP made the following statement in the abstract of their research.

“ The results showed that the measured ingredients of only 5 tested samples (26.3%) were in accordance with their labels, which suggested the quality consistency of G. lucidum dietary supplements in the U.S. market was poor, which should be carefully investigated.”

3 out of the 5 samples (60%) that passed USP’s testing standards were Nammex reishi mushroom extracts.

The USP research has now confirmed what Jeff Chilton has demonstrated in his published 2015 White Paper, Redefining Medicinal Mushrooms, and his presentation to the International Society for Mushroom Science symposium in 2016.

Nammex commends USP for initiating this study and assisting the health and wellness industry with the validation of quality standards for mushroom products.

USP Research Article: (Nature Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 7792(2017)

Nammex Beta-glucan Research Highlights 2016 International Society for Mushroom Science Conference

Jeff Chilton, President of Nammex Organic Mushroom Extracts, recently presented his groundbreaking beta-glucan research in Amsterdam to the International Society for Mushroom Science (ISMS), a worldwide organization of which he has been a member for 40 years.

Held every four years, ISMS presents current research from around the globe on all aspects of mushrooms: genetics, innovations in cultivation equipment and techniques, spawn making, and nutritional and medicinal aspects.

For years, mushroom scientists and advocates have been searching for a means to quantify the active compounds in medicinal mushrooms. Mr. Chilton has solved this problem with the development of the Nammex Testing Protocol™, a series of three or more tests that provide a fingerprint for mushroom quality.

Based around the groundbreaking Megazyme beta-glucan test, this testing protocol is relatively inexpensive and very accurate. In fact, a number of members at the conference also presented research that used the Megazyme method.

According to Mr. Chilton, the Megazyme beta-glucan based protocol sets a new standard and revolutionizes the assessment of medicinal mushroom products.

“There can no longer be any doubt as to medicinal mushroom product quality. The Nammex Testing Protocol gives all companies the tools to evaluate and verify claims made by their mushroom supplier.”

New to North America: Organic Cordyceps Mushroom Extracts

Jeff Chilton, President of Nammex Organic Mushroom Extracts, is excited to announce that Nammex now has a reliable ongoing supply of genuine, organically certified, Cordyceps militaris mushroom extracts. At an affordable price.

Wildcrafted Cordyceps sinensis is a legendary Chinese medicinal mushroom that has traditionally been recommended for a broad range of applications including low energy and fatigue, respiratory function, and fertility.

But demand for this increasingly rare natural product put it out of reach for the average consumer which forced US companies to produce grain-laden Cordyceps mycelium. New scientific research has now demonstrated that Cordyceps militaris mushrooms have active compounds and benefits similar to, if not better than, Cordyceps sinensis.

As with other Nammex extracts, actual Cordyceps mushrooms are being organically cultivated and are supplied in powder form to supplement manufacturers in North America.

Nammex organic Cordyceps militaris mushrooms guarantee a higher level of active ingredients than common Cordyceps mycelium grown on cereal grains. The kind of potency desired by the high performance athletes who tend to use this product today.

Canadian Company Challenges North American Industry They Helped Found

Jeff Chilton, President of Nammex Organic Mushroom Extracts is shaking up the medicinal mushroom supplement business that he helped found over 25 years ago.

Nammex is a producer of medicinal mushroom extracts that they supply as raw materials to the booming medicinal mushroom supplement industry, which was last tracked in 2014 as a $18 Billion dollar industry worldwide.

The difference between Nammex product and most others on the market is that Nammex works in cooperation with organically certified mushroom growers deep in the mountains of China – where 85% of all natural medicinal mushrooms are grown.

Indeed, the Chinese have been consuming medicinal mushrooms like Reishi and Shiitake for centuries – revered for their immune system stimulation capabilities. Recently, mushroom products such as Cordyceps are being recognized by the high performance athletics industry.

Mr. Chilton’s concerns about the industry he helped found are that most nutritional supplements that are labeled and sold as mushroom products in Canada and the USA are in fact a product called mycelium on grain – more like the root of the plant rather than the fruit body of mushroom. The strength of mycelium on grain is significantly lower than a real mushroom extract as a result of the residual grain that remains a dominant part of the product.

Throughout 2015, Nammex has been bringing these facts to light – which has attracted considerable industry backlash. Mr. Chilton remains firm in his goal to educate consumers on the differences between real medicinal mushrooms and mycelium on grain products.

Medicinal Mushroom Pioneer Challenges Mycelium Potency

With over forty years in the mushroom industry, Jeff Chilton knows the science of mushrooms. In fact, the Nammex founder helped pioneer the now rapidly expanding market for medicinal mushrooms.

But Mr. Chilton is concerned that the common practice of growing mycelium on a grain medium – a methodology which Jeff helped popularize in the 1990’s before abandoning it in 2005 – has now flooded the market with less than optimal ingredients.

Mr. Chilton has confirmed through scientific research that mycelium grown on grain produces lower amounts of beta-D-glucans, the primary active compound in medicinal mushrooms. Not only that, the residual grain in the form of starch dominates these products.

Jeff has proven his findings by using a new, highly specific testing method developed by Megazyme International, an award-winning, world leader in testing technologies – especially carbohydrates and polysaccharides. Megazyme’s method is specifically designed to measure (1>3)(1>6)-beta-glucans from mushrooms and yeast. The test is now utilized by researchers worldwide and is becoming a standard.

The Megazyme test results clearly show that mushrooms, the “fruiting body”, produce measurably greater amounts of beta-glucans compared to mycelium, “the vegetative body”. And because mycelium is typically grown on grain, mycelium products can contain as much as 70% starch. Mushrooms contain less than 5% starch on average.

Furthermore, secondary metabolites like triterpenoids, recognized as key medicinal compounds, are mostly absent in mycelium on grain products due to lack of precursors. Not so in organically grown mushrooms.

NAMMEX first organized organic mushroom production in China in 1997. Their long-term business development efforts have paid off with their Kosher and Certified Organic mushrooms being grown in pristine mountain valleys deep in China – the traditional home of medicinal mushrooms.

NAMMEX now guarantees the potency levels of active compounds in their organic mushroom products. They sell twelve primary medicinal mushrooms, which include Reishi, Shiitake, Cordyceps and Chaga. All are tested and shipped with guaranteed amounts of beta-D glucans. Certified organic and Kosher.