Introduction

The concepts and practical applications of fungal biotechnology continue to make significant contributions to food science. Several recent books and monograms have been dedicated to this topic (Hui and Khachatourians 1995; Khachatourians and Arora 2001; Khachatourians and Arora 2002; Khachatourians et al. 2002; Pointing and Hyde 2001; Rajak 2000; Singh and Aneja 1999). Table 1 shows a few key food products and processes that depend on applied mycology and biotechnology. Without exception many aspects of food ingredient and process technologies involving fungi are impacted by research in biotechnology, for example, functional foods, nutraceuticals, value added foods, and food pathogen and safety detection systems. Inevitably, and beyond the laboratory level research, the development of food biotechnology depends on research and developments in engineering and down stream processing. It is in this context that the convergence of food science and engineering create crosscutting opportunities for the two disciplines, biotechnology and engineering. An obvious group of foods in this crosscut is the large-scale production of fermented foods, edible mushrooms, so called, single cell proteins (SCP). and fermented beverages. Finally, fungi in food technology have benefited from intellectual property rights associated with both engineered fungi and process patents. Fungal biotechnology should enjoy being a primary driver of world food production technologies.

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