The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of UV-B on vitamin D 2 concentration in shiitake mushrooms and in white button mushrooms. After the exposure to UV-B, at a dose of 25 kJ/m(2), the concentration of vitamin D(2) was increased to 36.7 +/- 1.4, 68.6 +/- 4.9, and 106.4 +/- 14.7 microg/g (dry weight) for pileus, middle, and gill parts of shiitake mushroom, respectively. The gill side of whole shiitake mushrooms exposed to 0, 25, 50, and 75 kJ/m(2) increased to 2.8 +/- 0.2, 13.8 +/- 1.9, 40.7 +/- 4.4, and 61.9 +/- 10.6 microg/g (dry weight) at 25 degrees C, respectively. Irradiating slices of white button mushroom was a more efficient way of increasing the vitamin D(2) content than irradiating the gill or pileus of whole mushrooms, due to the larger exposure area. As the irradiation doses increased, the vitamin D(2) concentration also increased for both types of mushrooms. In conclusion, exposure to ultraviolet light offers an effective way of increasing the concentration of vitamin D(2) in mushrooms.