Mushrooms, specifically the common white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, are big business in Pennsylvania. The state grows almost two-thirds of all Agaricus produced in the United States, most of that coming from farms in Chester and Berks counties, with ground zero at Kennett Square, the self-proclaimed “mushroom capital of the world.” Penn State’s leadership in research and education has shaped and supported the industry since its beginnings.

In recent years, however, mushroom-related research at Penn State has expanded across departments and even colleges into new and surprising areas, from food science to environmental clean-up to architecture and design.

“We are the only academic institution in the United States that has a facility dedicated for cultivated mushroom research,” said John Pecchia, associate professor of plant pathology and manager of the Penn State Mushroom Research Center, a long, low building on the north end of campus that holds nine climate-controlled growing rooms, a spawning-casing area, and a composting facility.

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