Ms Vuyokazi Mgobozi
Mushrooms are widely consumed as food by rural people in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The aim of this study was therefore, to document different wild mushrooms commonly harvested and eaten by rural communities in the Hogsback area of this province, and subsequently evaluate the potential of the most commonly consumed mushroom as food supplement. Ethnobotanical data were gathered from 200 indigenous people using a semi-structured questionnaire during face-to-face interviews, supplemented by field observation for species identifications and specimen collection. Phytochemical constituents were determined following standard screening procedures. Thirty-two mushrooms from 16 botanical families were recorded as being consumed by participants in the studied area. The most widely consumed mushrooms included Boletus edulis (56.25 %), Lactarius deliciousus (40.62%), Termitomyces striatus (28.12%) and Hygrocybe conica (12.5%), respectively. These species were mainly harvested and consumed in their fresh state. Overall, the biochemical evaluation of the most frequently consumed mushroom, B. edulis, demonstrated the presence of carbohydrate (49.31 ± 3.63%), crude protein (20.15 ± 0.94%), crude fat (1.02 ± 0.32%), total ash (19.70 ± 2.70 %), crude fibre (8.85 ± 0.21 %), moisture content (9.52 ± 0.08%) and energy value of Kcal/100g (244.02 ± 4.89%). Calcium, Mg, K, P, Na, Zn, Cu, Mn, Fe, vitamins C and D also present. The current study conclude that B. edulis occurring naturally in Hogsback area has potential to serve as imperative supplements to the diet, providing trace elements fundamental for human nutrition and therapeutic requirements.