When commonly consumed mushroom species are exposed to a source of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, such as sunlight or a UV lamp, they can generate nutritionally relevant amounts of vitamin D. The most common form of vitamin D in mushrooms is D₂, with lesser amounts of vitamins D₃ and D₄, while vitamin D₃ is the most common form in animal foods. Although the levels of vitamin D₂ in UV-exposed mushrooms may decrease with storage and cooking, if they are consumed before the 'best-before' date, vitamin D₂ level is likely to remain above 10 μg/100 g fresh weight, which is higher than the level in most vitamin D-containing foods and similar to the daily requirement of vitamin D recommended internationally. Worldwide mushroom consumption has increased markedly in the past four decades, and mushrooms have the potential to be the only non-animal, unfortified food source of vitamin D that can provide a substantial amount of vitamin D₂ in a single serve. This review examines the current information on the role of UV radiation in enhancing the concentration of vitamin D₂ in mushrooms, the effects of storage and cooking on vitamin D₂ content, and the bioavailability of vitamin D₂ from mushrooms.
Keywords: Agaricus bisporus; Lentinula edodes; Pleurotus ostreatus; UV radiation; button mushroom; mushroom; oyster mushroom; shiitake mushroom; vitamin D.