The 11th International Medicinal Mushroom Conference was held in Belgrade, Serbia on September 27-30 this year. While the conference is usually held every other year and had been scheduled for Sept of 2021, it had to be delayed in 2021 due to travel restrictions related to the pandemic. Even this year there were extensive travel restrictions in place for China and much of Asia, limiting the inclusion of Chinese scientists. Along with the war in Ukraine, which kept the Russian and the Ukrainian scientists away. Even so, there were still around 250 on-site participants. This is far fewer than the 2000 or more which have attended some of the earlier International Medicinal Mushroom Conferences held since 2001.
Dr. John Holliday and several of his staff from Mushroom Consulting LLC attended this conference, along with staff from another of his companies, Ayla Bioscience Inc. He gave a presentation titled “The Future of Mushroom Farming” where he discussed the technological advances changing mushroom farming methods of today and tomorrow. He also gave a second presentation discussing the research into psilocybin’s use for treating mental health issues titled “Psilocybin – A Microscope into the Mind and Telescope into Consciousness”.Elizabeth Morrison, who is our Director of Training for Mushroom Consulting LLC, gave a presentation titled “Newer and More Economically Viable Methods of Mushroom Cultivation” where she talked about the cold system of mushroom farming using chemicals for substrate sterilization rather than steam. Richie Specht, the Executive Vice President of Ayla Bioscience Inc. gave his presentation on the growth and investment opportunities in the psilocybin industry titled “Magic Mushroom’s Path: The Economics, the Sector, the Direction”. There were researchers and scientists from about 25 countries that gave presentations over the four days, for a total of about 100 presentations in all. You will be able to view all of the presentations as they are soon to be posted online at the conference website – https://www.immc11.com/
The conference was held at the Crown Plaza Hotel and Conference Center in Belgrade and sponsored by the International Society for Medicinal Mushrooms and University of Belgrade. The President of the Organizing Committee, who is the man that really pulled it all together, is my long-time friend, Prof. Dr. Miomir Niksic, from the Institute of Food Technology and Biochemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade. We have to say that despite all the challenges with trying to organize an international conference in the middle of a pandemic, Prof. Niksic really did an incredible job. I can only imagine the number of hours, the late nights, and all the hassles he must have gone through to make this world-class conference happen. But somehow, he managed to put together an incredible conference. We think in everyone’s opinion, this was one of the best Medicinal Mushroom conferences we have had since these conferences began way back in 2001. We sincere thanks go out to Prof. Niksic and his team for making this happen.
The topics and areas of interest covered in this year’s conference were:
① Biodiversity of medicinal mushrooms (conservation, taxonomy and ecological distribution); ② Genetics and breeding of medicinal mushrooms (including molecular biology); ③ New trends in the cultivation, industrial production and fermentation of medicinal mushrooms ④ Biochemistry and pharmacology of medicinal mushrooms active compounds; ⑤ Medicinal mushrooms in veterinary and agriculture; ⑥ Medicinal mushrooms in clinical practice; antiviral and antimicrobial compounds; ⑦ Nutritional and medicinal value of mushroom products; ⑧ Industrialization of medicinal mushrooms products (including management, marketing, laws and regulations, standardization, ecotourism and mushroom hunting); ⑨ Psychedelic Mushrooms: Research opportunities and a future for Psilocybe in medicine
“The international movement for the medicinal mushroom industry marked an important milestone when the International Journal of Medicinal Mushroom (IJMM) was launched in 1999 by Begell House Inc. (USA). This then led to the inaugural International Medicinal Mushroom Conference (IMMC) held in Kiev, Ukraine, in 2001 when it was agreed that there would be an IMMC every two years. The IMMC2 was held in Pattaya, Thailand, in 2003; The IMMC3 was held in Port Townsend, USA, in 2005; and the IMMC4 was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2007. The IMMC5 was held in Nantong, China, in 2009. In 2011 the IMMC6 was held in Zagreb, Croatia. In 2013, the IMMC7 was held in Beijing, China. The IMMC8 was held in Manizales, Colombia, in 2015. The IMMC9 was held in Palermo , Italy, in 2017. The IMMC10 was held in Nantong, China, 2019. The 11th International Medicinal Mushroom Conference was held in Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 2021.” The next conference will be held in 2024 in Italy, the venue and dates to be announced at a later date.
This society is open to everyone with an interest in medicinal mushrooms and includes all the top researchers and scientists, as well as students and in fact anyone interested in this subject from around the world. I strongly encourage anyone with an interest in this field to join the society. The ability to share ideas and research results with all the best minds in the field is invaluable. The top peer-reviewed journal in the field is International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms (IJMM), which is associated with the ISMM. Information on joining the ISMM can be found online at http://www.ismm2013.com/Default.aspx?class=2&type=1
Dr. John Holliday was elected as the Vice President of the ISMM in 2019, and he’ve been on the Editorial Board of the IJMM since 2002. This association has been a great boon to my career and has brought me into contact with the very top minds in this field of study. The chance for me to ask questions, bounce ideas around, associate on projects, and just communicate with these scientists has been a real delight for me. The reason I encourage others to join the society, is because all of us are smarter than any of us, and we all have something to share. Every idea, every question and every opinion has value, and this is an international forum that allows us to share those ideas. Let’s say your interest lies with Cordyceps, for example. Where else could you have the opportunity to exchange emails with the experts and the authors of those research papers we all read online? Like most of our readers, I spend a lot of time online and see the blogs on all things mushroom, but it can be so difficult sometimes to sort out solid information from amateur hobbyist ideas that sometimes get presented as “facts”. By becoming a member of this professional society, you not only get the opportunity to share your own ideas, but also to ask others in the field for their ideas and their advice. It is also a valuable forum for finding out about grants that are available for researching different areas related to mushrooms.