Prof. Dr. Renato G. Reyes, the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Central Luzon State University (CLSU), delivered his Professorial Chair Lecture on Recent advances in the domestication and mykopharming of wild edible mushrooms in the Philippines for the bio-functional food industry on 6 March 2023 at the R and E Amphitheater of CLSU.
Prof. Dr. Renato G. Reyes, known as the man of science in mushroom farming in the Philippines, continuously developed innovative technologies for mushrooms to be sustainable and relevant. He highlighted in his presentation the conceptualization of the zero rice waste technology, which encourages the farmers to use rice straw, instead of burning it, as the main substrate for the cultivation of edible mushrooms. He emphasized the Volvariella volvacea, a popular mushroom in the Philippines, that grows well in rice straw, banana leaves, water lily, and other cellulosic farm residues throughout the year. Prof. Dr. Reyes, together with his research team, introduced the Myko Pharming in 2007. He wanted to bring back the interest of the Filipinos to grow mushrooms. He described this as the cultivation of medicinal edible mushrooms. With his passion for mushroom research, Prof. Dr. Reyes discovered that Collybia reinakeana, a giant edible mushroom found in the mountainous areas, can be successfully grown in a rice straw-based medium. Because of the zero rice waste technology, Prof. Dr. Reyes and his team discovered various medicinal edible mushroom species that changed the perception of Filipino consumers about mushroom consumption and utilization from an ordinary food but also as a functional food.
One of the challenges faced by stakeholders in the Philippine mushroom industry is the nutritional value of mushroom-based products that was not supported by science at that time. This has been addressed when the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCHRD) awarded CLSU as one of the Tuklas Lunas Development Centers, to focus its research on mushroom drug discovery.
Prof. Dr. Renato G. Reyes was awarded a SEARCA Regional Professorial Chair for Academic Year 2022-2023 for his contributions to the field of Mycology. He has published more than 100 articles as a lead or co-author in scientific journals and with patents for developed technologies.
Since AY 2012-2013, SEARCA has awarded 51 Regional Professorial Chair Grants in line with its mandate of bringing agriculture and rural development to the region by developing next-generation leaders and professionals. The grant recognizes the contribution of individuals in agriculture and related sciences.