Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (Mcgraw-Hill)
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/7/2009
Publication Date: 5/22/2012
Citation: Dugan, F.M. 2012. Ethnomycology. Encyclopedia of Science and Technology (Mcgraw-Hill). http://www.accessscience.com.
Interpretive Summary: This 1500-word encyclopedia article offers a concise summary of the origins and development of ethnomycology. Originally focused on the use of psychoactive mushrooms by peoples of Mesoamerica and ancient India, the field has broadened and currently emphasizes traditional uses of fungi for food and medicine by a wide range of indigenous tribes, peasant farmers and other peoples. Such uses have frequently spawned small scale (and sometimes large scale) enterprises using fungal biotechnology. Pertinent fungal germplasm is often incorporated into culture collections. Additional references, including Internet sites, are provided. The article is written for the non-specialist.
Technical Abstract: Ethnomycology is the study of utilization of fungi by common people, as food or medicine, or in crafts, stories or rituals. It is a subfield of ethnobotany of ethnobiology. Originally concerned with the use of psychoactive mushrooms by indigenous peoples, the discipline now covers all uses of fungi by any bearers of folk traditions.