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For the last six years, Fruiting Bodies, a small business, based in the western fringes of the Brecon Beacons National Park, has placed itself amongst the world leaders in the extraction of medicinal compounds from mushrooms.

Mushrooms provide some of the most powerful antibiotics known to science – Penicillin, being the most widely recognised in Europe. However, in Japan and China, mushroom compounds make up more than 25% of all anti-cancer treatments, and are used widely by practitioners to treat almost every ailment known to humankind.

Speaking from their base at Red Pig Farm, Richard Edwards, a senior partner in the business, said, ‘in Japan and China, mushrooms are consumed with the knowledge that they can actually prevent disease, a phenomenon which we in the west have been slow to catch on to! Mushrooms are treated with great reverence and their production facilitates an industry suggested to be worth more than $10billion a year.’

For the past six years, Fruiting Bodies has been growing more than 25 species of mushroom at their farm near Llangadog, and the compounds which have been extracted have been used, with astonishing success, to treat diseases associated with a depleted immune system. Mr Edwards continued, ‘the issue of treating the immune system is something which is still not recognised widely in the west, however this form of therapy has been practiced in Asia for centuries. There is obviously some logic in treating the cause rather than the symptom.’

During the past 18 months the company has turned its attention to treating animals, and it was during this period that research lead them to believe that Bovine TB could possibly be treated by the application of mushroom compounds. Many species of mushroom are known to have strong antibacterial properties and upon researching the issue further, the company uncovered evidence suggesting that TB had, in some cases, been cured by the application of some very rare and quite obscure species of mushroom growing wild in Europe.

Mr Edwards commented ‘once we began to research the matter in some detail we quickly concluded that we could develop a very strong hypothesis, which suggests that we could manufacture a natural product which could possibly prevent infection. As more pieces were added to the complex jigsaw forming in front of us, we reached the point whereby we were 90% sure that the treatment could prove to be effective against bovine TB.’

At this point the company approached their local MP and Welsh Assembly AM with a view to gaining their support. Further discussions with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate and staff from the Home Office have proved to be encouraging and the company has just embarked on the long road to product approval. Mr Edwards said ‘given that bovine TB costs the country more than £500million a year in testing, slaughter and compensation costs, it should be obvious to everyone involved that the need for a collective effort to at least test this hypothesis is imperative.’

END. 7th October, 2009. Contact: Mr Richard Edwards or Mrs Joy Edwards.