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The goal of this research was to determine the phytosterol content of dried, store-bought mushrooms and compare the results to that previously reported for fresh mushrooms. Ergosterol is particularly important due to its role as a light-activated precursor of vitamin D (vitamin D2). Dried mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus and Morchella) were Soxhlet extracted with petroleum ether and the extracts were concentrated and then saponified with 1-M NaOH in ethanol. Extraction again with petroleum ether was followed by drying with Na2SO4 and derivatization as TMS-ethers, which were analyzed by GC-MS. It was hypothesized that the mushroom drying process (e.g. sun drying vs. oven drying) could affect the phytosterol and vitamin D2 content. Results suggest that the dried mushrooms analyzed have similar sterol content to that of fresh mushrooms. A sterol detected in both fresh and dried morel mushrooms was proposed to be 24-methylene cholesterol. 24-Methylene ergosta-5,22,24(24)-trienol was proposed to be the sterol detected in dried morel mushrooms. Ergosterol abundance relatively decreases in sundried morel mushrooms when compared to dried and fresh. This may be due to the conversion of ergosterol to vitamin D2 via sunlight or UV rays.

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Thomas Nalli



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