N Korea unveils new mushroom sports drink

02-Jun-2014 Intellasia | The Guardian | 6:00 AM Print This Post

North Korean scientists have developed a new sports drink made from mushrooms to enhance athletic prowess, according to state media.

In a report detailing “new inventions” in the secretive state, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said researchers at the Microbiological Research Institute of the State Academy of Sciences had developed a “very effective” new mushroom drink to help athletes recover from exertion.

“They succeeded in finding the way to cultivate mushroom fungus and made a functional drink,” KCNA reports. “This natural drink is very effective in enhancing physical ability of sportspersons and recovering from their fatigues.”

The report does not explain how the drink’s health benefits work, when it will be made widely available, or how it tastes.

Fu Ying (C), chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of China's National People's Congress, attends the speech by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during the 13th Shangri-La Dialogue on May 30, 2014 in Singapore. (AFP)

North Korea recently announced the opening of a new Central Mushroom Research Institute in Pyongyang, which the country’s leader Kim Jong-un was reported to have visited personally in October 2013. A report in KCNA at the time said the centre had been built “according to the noble intention of Kim Jong-un making a new history of industrialisation of mushroom growing” and that it had a “very important duty” to help turn “DPRK into a huge producer of mushroom”.

The report said there is now a “brisk drive for mushroom production” across North Korea, and the efforts of the institute are anticipated to bring “substantial benefits to the people”.

North Korea has struggled with food production since the famine of the 1990s, which is believed to have killed around one million people. Outdated farming practices, mismanagement, lack of fertilisers and extreme weather have all been blamed for poor food production. Though the situation is believed to be steadily improving, chronic levels of infant malnutrition persist, according the UN.

North Koreans receive much of their food through state rations, and can receive food packages as work bonuses and holiday treats. There is also a thriving black market trade in rare or imported foods, such as South Korean Choco Pies.

North Korea’s State Academy of Sciences is a sprawling network of institutes dedicated to all manner of state-endorsed research. Other discoveries in the KCNA list of “new inventions” include the creation of a new substance for “separating the shuttering from concrete by making use of leftovers from the processing of duck feathers and tanning.”



Category: Korea

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