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North Carolina A&T mushroom researcher hopes to revolutionize livestock feed industry

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- “This is the mushroom room,” said Professor Omoanghe Isikhuemhen, as he unlocks the door to his lab at North Carolina A&T. “And this is called the oyster mushroom.”

Dr. Omon, as he’s known around campus, knows a thing or two about mushrooms. He grew up hunting them near his home in Nigeria. And he learned some things at a young age.

“You can make money out of mushrooms because you can grow them, very fast,” he said.

For the last 17 years or so, Dr. Omon has been one of the nation’s leading authorities on mushrooms.

“We have the largest reservoir of shitake strains from the top of Canada to the bottom of Argentina,” he said, proudly, as he showed off all the vials that contain the various fungi from which he grows his academic mushrooms.

“We can start from any point -- we can pick a mushroom in the wild and then work it all the way to production,” Dr. Oman said.

He is using his skill and knowledge to begin one of the first truffle farms in America on a set of pecan trees as well as some evergreens.

But his big contribution to society isn’t so much making someone’s salad or marsala dish taste better. He has other research that can revolutionize the livestock industry. Dr. Omon believes he can eliminate the need for using antibiotics on farm animals.

“We're waiting for the business world to wake up and say, ‘Hey, this is an opportunity, let's jump on it,’” he said.

See why, in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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