Under our feet, below the surface of the dirt, lies the hidden world of mycelium, stretching often for long distances, communicating, sensing our presence and movements, supporting and trading sustenance with plant life and trees, and producing wonderful mushrooms. I first discovered this hidden world when I read Paul Stamets' book, Mycelium Running (see references below). It has become one of my enthusiasms.|
Mycorrhizae of Landscape Trees by David Sylvia et al... Mycorrhizal associations provide a linkage between tree roots and the soil, thereby contributing to the tolerance of trees to environmental stresses... Mycorrhizae are characterized by the movement of plant-produced carbon compounds to the fungus and fungal-acquired nutrients to the tree... The soilbome, or extramatrical, hyphae take up nutrients from the soil solution and transport them to the root (George et al. 1992). By this mechanism, mycorrhizae increase the effective absorptive surface area of a tree (O'Keefe and Sylvia 1991). As a result, mycorrhizal trees may have better establishment and greater tolerance of environmental stresses than nonmycorrhizal trees (Sylvia and Williams 1992)... cultural practices (e.g., high fertilization and pesticide use) may greatly reduce the number of mycorrhizal propagules in soil
Mycorrhizal Effects on Host Plant Physiology The word "Mycorrhiza" is given to a mutualistic association between a fungus (Myco) and the roots (rhiza) of the plants. This association is symbiotic because the relationship is advantageous for both organisms. The macrosymbiont (the plant) gains increased exploration of the soil (rhizo sphere) with the intricate net of hyphae that increases the uptake of water and nutrients from the soil interphase. The microsymbiont (the fungus) uses the carbon provided by the plant for its physiological functions, growth and development.
All About Improving Soil Fertility Research about trees transplanted from nurseries indicates that there is little benefit to fertilizing at the time of planting. Tree fertilization is not recommended on native soils as well because it is usually unnecessary. Conifers rarely need fertilization at all, since most conifers do well in low-nutrient soils...
Glossary of Mycological Terms useful for reading the following materials.
Mycorrhiza Mycorrhizas are commonly divided into ectomycorrhizas and endomycorrhizas. The two types are differentiated by the fact that the hyphae of ectomycorrhizal fungi do not penetrate individual cells within the root, while the hyphae of endomycorrhizal fungi penetrate the cell wall and invaginate the cell membrane.... Ectomycorrhizas, or EcM... An individual tree may have 15 or more different fungal EcM partners at one time
Thesis: TWO-YEAR PERFORMANCE OF HYBRID AND PURE AMERICAN CHESTNUT CASTANEA DENTATA (FAGACEAE) SEEDLINGS AND BENEFIT OF PISOLITHUS TINCTORIUS (SCLERODERMATACEAE) ON EASTERN OHIO MINE SPOIL by ROBERT V. HERENDEEN. We recommend that bareroot hybrid seedlings be inoculated with vegetative mycelial Pt at the nursery, treated with Terrasorb®... As early as the 1920’s the USDA recognized that trees, when established, promote hydrologic balance and soil stability while providing wildlife habitat and inhibiting invasive species (Zeleznik and Skousen 1996)... and Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.), (ODNR Mineral Resources Management 2001),... Mycorrhizal inoculation has also proven beneficial in helping trees cope with the adverse physical properties...
...formed mycorrhizae of the arbuscular type. We did, however, sample 5 species that are in plant families dominated by ectomycorrhizae... In contrast, Taxodium mucronatum was colonized by AM fungi in both containers and in raised beds.
Observations of Mycorrhizal Inoculation of Pin and Scarlet Oak Production In Containers by Thomas P. Martin. "Over the course of the last century mycorrhizal symbiosis has come to be recognized as highly beneficial for the host plant. Increased growth, water relations, nutrient acquisition, amelioration of the effects of metal toxicity, and increased resistance to pathogens are all benefits attributed to plants colonized by mycorrhizal fungi. A large body of literature exists that indicates that mycorrhizal inoculation programs are useful for improving the performance of forest tree seedlings. Commercial mycorrhizal products, many containing the ectomycorrhizal fungus Pisolithus tinctorius (Pers.) Coker and Couch (Pt), have emerged from this research and are now being marketed for landscape tree growers."
"Mycorrhizal fungi increase the surface absorbing area of [tree] roots 100 to a 1,000 times... also release powerful enzymes into the soil that dissolve hard-to-capture nutrients, such as organic nitrogen, phosphorus, iron and other “tightly bound” soil nutrients... Tillage, removal of topsoil, erosion, site preparation, compaction, fumigation, invasion of weeds and leaving soils fallow are some of the activities that can reduce or eliminate these beneficial soil fungi. Scientific studies indicate endo mycorrhizal fungal populations are slow to recolonize" (Mycorrhizal Applications [link below]).
Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis increases relative apoplastic water flow in roots of the host plant under both well-watered and drought stress conditions Conclusions: The ability of AM [arbuscular mycorrhizal] plants to switch between water transport pathways could allow a higher flexibility in the response of these plants to water shortage according to the demand from the shoot.
Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are all placed in the phylum (division) Glomeromycota. They form the widespread arbuscular mycorrhiza symbiosis with land plants (Embryophyta). The fungi are obligate symbionts that cannot be cultured without a plant as a 'host' (symbiotic partner)... All symbionts within a plant host interact, often in unpredictable ways. A recent meta-analysis indicated that plants colonized by both AM fungi and vertically transmitted endophytes often are larger than plants independently colonized... Similar ranges of interactions can occur between AM fungi and ectomycorrhizal fungi... AM fungi were found to increase plant biomass under drought conditions
Ranges of trees and mycorrhizal status Most mycorrhizal root infections operate as a mutualism, with the plant providing the fungus with energy for respiration in return for minerals and resources that would be otherwise more difficult to access in soil. The relationships between a plant and its mycorrhizae can significantly affect the growth, survival, and fitness of the plant. In the set of tree species for the FOR305 ID Test, there are two functionally distinct types of mycorrhizae—vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM), which penetrate the root’s cell wall and Ectomycorrhizae (ECM), which do not.
The two mycorrhizal types examined in this paper are defined structurally. Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhizae are formed by glomeromycetous fungi. VAM create arbuscles – branched exchange structures – inside the root, notably penetrating the walls of interior root cells (Bagyaraj, 1991; Wang et. al., 2006). Ectomycorrhizae are formed by basidiomycetous and ascomycetous fungi, and create exchange structures known as Hartig nets between cortical root cells. Hartig nets do not penetrate cell walls (Mukerji et. al. 1991). ECM are generally exclusive to perennials, a relationship attributed to the success of perennials in low nutrient, disturbed, and stressful habitats
Mycorrhizae can benefit plants in a range of ways. In general, mycorrhizae have the ability to gain resources that plants cannot adequately access. Because they have a smaller diameter than that of root hairs, fungal hyphae are better able to colonize pores in the soil (Allen, 1991). As noted by Eissenstat, a smaller diameter means a higher length: root mass ratio, which is generally beneficial, as root uptake is primarily correlated with length rather than mass (1992). Benefits are not always constant over the life of the plant. For some species, mycorrhizal infections have a negligible effect, except in times of resource stress, most often drought (Allen, 1991). In these cases, the mycorrhizae are not a continual mutualistic partner, but an “insurance policy.” Mycorrhizae can also be important during early development, giving seedlings a readily accessible network of resources (Allen, 1991). This is especially true if the surrounding plants are closely related, as networks of mycorrhizae between hosts have been shown to allow nutrients to transfer in any direction, and in a way which prefers hosts which are most genetically similar to other hosts in the network (Dighton, 2003).
Over evolutionary history, mycorrhizal status of a species converts from VAM-associated to more “advanced” statuses, such as ECM-associated, on many independent occasions (Wang et. al., 2006). Wang describes the strategy of ECM association as short-term, an opportunistic response to more strenuous environmental conditions, which explains why there are many independent conversions to ECM association, and yet VAM association is still dominant.
Since the ancestor to VAM is thought to have been a key innovation which allowed the evolution of land plants, this would suggest that more primitive groups of species would be more dependent on VAM assocations. Any other species group that showed similarly primitive traits, specifically root hairs that are coarse and sparse, is likely to have a strong VAM association to help improve nutrient intake (Bagyaraj, 1991). This is supported by the findings of Smith and Read (2008), who showed that VAM roots were often more efficient in nutrient acquisition per unit length than non-infected roots.
Chalot and Plassard (2012) noted that VAM [vascular arbuscular mycorrhizae] play a major role in increasing nutrient uptake, especially for phosphorus, but have limited capacity to release nitrogen or phosphorus from inorganic forms. Conversely, ECM [ectomycorrhizae] can actively take up inorganic nutrients and provide them to the host. From this, it can be seen that VAM and ECM provide nutrients to their hosts in functionally different ways.
The most prominent orders that were found to be obligate to Ectomycorrhizae were the Pinales [pine and cypress trees] and Fagales [beech, birch, walnut trees] (Table 2). This is consistent with the findings of Wang et. al. (2005), who showed that Pinaceae and Fagales were dominantly ECM obligate. From analyzing the numerous instances when ECM associations evolved, Wang et. al. hypothesize that the majority of ECM hosts typically grow in nutrient-poor environments, and descend from clades [a group of organisms believed to have evolved from a common ancestor] that used to live in less stressful environments; for example, Rosids such as the Malvales. Ectomycorrhizae are known to sometimes have associations with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which would help in the colonization of areas with resource limitations (Trappe, 1987).
Ectomycorrhizae are more active in nutrient intake. They are also known to secrete enzymes to break down the litter layer in order to gain better access to nutrients (Chalot and Plassard, 2012). Furthermore, while VAM are known to branch into a fan-shaped pattern, the outer extent of ECM, the mycelium, forms a net-shaped structure, which allows for better substrate colonization (Allen, 1991).
The mycorrhizal status of the species examined was dominantly obligative, with associations with Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhizae being common, associations with Ectomycorrhizae being secondary, prevalent especially in species that range in nutrient limited conditions, and with a small group of species that displayed flexible associations.
The defining characteristic of trees is the extensive production of woody tissue, an undertaking which requires good access to nutrients. It is not surprising then that most trees have mycorrhizal associations, as these mutualisms tend to improve nutrient access. The most influential factor for determining VAM versus ECM status seems to be environmental stress, a hypothesis which is supported by the many parallel occurrences of ECM status corresponding to nutrient stress found by Wang et. al. (2006). From the ranges analyzed in this paper and current knowledge of the differences between VAM and ECM fungi, it seems that resource trade-offs play an important role in determining the success of both types of associations. Therefore, through various mechanisms, environment is the main factor which determines mycorrhizal status in trees.
Mycorrhiza Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi are the most common type of Mycorrhizae on the planet, and 90% of all plant families contain AMF. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi is also known as Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (VAM)
Extracellular activity, (existing, occurring and functioning outside a cell), is known as Ectomycorrhizal Fungi (EcM), and are found between the roots of around 10% of plant families, mostly woody plants including the Birch, Eucalyptus, Oak, Pine and Rose families. Ectomycorrhizas consist of a hyphal sheath, or mantle, which covers the root tip and surround the plant cells within the root cortex. In some cases the hyphae may also penetrate the plant cells, in which case the Mycorrhiza is called an ectendomycorrhiza. Outside the root, the fungal mycelium forms an extensive network within the soil and leaf litter["the mat"]. Nutrients can be shown to move between different plants through the fungal network (sometimes called the wood wide web).
The third most important relationship is Ericoid Mycorrhiza. They have a simple intraradical (grow in cells) phase, consisting of dense coils of hyphae in the outermost layer of root cells. There is no periradical phase and the extraradical phase consists of sparse hyphae that don't extend very far into the surrounding soil. They might form sporocarps (probably in the form of small cups), but their reproductive biology is little understood.
Ericoid Mycorrhizae have also been shown to have considerable saprotrophic capabilities, which would enable plants to receive nutrients from not-yet-decomposed materials via the decomposing actions of their ericoid partners
Ericoid mycorrhiza The ericoid mycorrhiza is a mutualistic symbiosis formed between members of the plant family Ericaceae and several lineages of fungi. The symbiosis represents an important adaptation to acidic and nutrient poor soils that species in the Ericaceae typically inhabit, including boreal forests, bogs, and heathlands. Molecular clock estimates suggest that the symbiosis originated approximately 140 million years ago
Mycorrhizal application is easy and quick and does not require specialist equipment, training or personal protective equipment. Physical contact between the Mycorrhizal inoculants and the plant root is the only precursor to getting inoculation right. Mycorrhizal inoculants can come in a powder form and be sprinkled onto roots when plants are transplanted, watered in via existing irrigation systems.
Many fertiliser regimes push top growth at the expense of root development, making plants vulnerable to stressful environments. Frequent, high levels of fertiliser produce an unbalanced and often unsustainable shoot-to-root ratio. Mycorrhizae, on the other hand, feed your plants and stimulate root growth. Unlike Mycorrhizae, fertiliser cannot help prevent root disease, improve soil structure or promote other beneficial microbes.
...organic natural fertilisers work best with Mycorrhizal inoculants, and improving the soil in the traditional way before planting if it is very poor coupled with the addition of Mycorrhizal inoculants will provide the best results.
David Moore's World of Fungi covers the whole range of mycology from UK... Fungi are not bacteria, because fungi are eukaryotes and they have the complex cell structures and abilities to make tissues and organs that we expect of higher organisms... Unfortunately, even though fungi make up such a large group of higher organisms, most current biology teaching, from school level upwards, concentrates on animals, with a trickle of information about plants. The result is that the majority of school and college students (and, since they’ve been through the same system, current University academics) are ignorant of fungal biology and therefore of their own dependence on fungi in everyday life.... There are three major Kingdoms of eukaryotes: Kingdom Fungi, Kingdom Viridiplantae (all green plants), and Kingdom Animalia (all multicellular animals)... "... animals and fungi are sister groups while plants constitute an independent evolutionary lineage..." [Baldauf, S. L. & Palmer, J. D. (1993). Animals and fungi are each others closest relatives - congruent evidence from multiple proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the U. S. A., 90: 11558-11562].
How to Inoculate Ectomycorrhizal Fungi Mycorrhizal fungi are generally known as successful tools to increase plant growth and health. Ectomycorrhizal fungi are generally the easiest type of mycorrhizal fungi to inoculate and transplant because they are easily found by woody plants and they do not need to be attached to a host plant to survive.
Ectomycorrhizal fungi - Mycorrhizal fungi that attach their own mycelia to the roots of the host plant using their Hartig Net  without invading the host plant's roots. Ectomycorrhizae are usually associated with woody plants, including trees such as fir, pine, beech, oak, and birch.
Symbio Mycorrhizae Mycorrhizae (it means fungus root) are a group of about 400 fungi that form symbiotic relationships with plants. They live in or on the roots, extend their hyphae into the soil and make phosphate, nitrogen other nutrients and water available to the host plant. They extend the effective root area many hundreds of times so plants grow faster, larger and stronger with less fertiliser and water.
Q. Do all plants need the same mycorrhizal fungi?
Q. When is inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi needed?
Q. How do I apply mycorrhizal inoculums?
Q. Can I overdose?
Q. What is the minimum amount of inoculum needed to form mycorrhizae?
Q. Do mycorrhizae control plant diseases?
Q. Are some types of mycorrhizae better for some plants or soil conditions?
A Review of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets Reviewed by Terry Shistar... Stamets and others have been working with fungi that feed on insects, and he has figured out a way to grow fungi that delay their spore formation and actually attract the insect to the fungus, thus breaking through an obstacle in using fungi to protect homes from carpenter ants and termites... Stamets also talks about the use of fungi to detoxify toxic chemicals, and his list of chemicals digestible by fungi includes dioxins, organophosphates, PCBs, and many wood preservative chemicals, including pentachlorophenol. He also tells how filters of mushroom spawn can remove pathogens, nutrients, and toxins from runoff.
Fungi plants, and algae have cell walls. Fungal cell walls are special in that they contain chitin like the exoskeleton of insects and lobsters. Although indigestible to humans hot water extracts bioactive beta—Glucans from the fungal walls. These bind to the surface of macrophage blood cells & act as immunostimulants & cancerostatics.
George, E., K.U. Haussler, S.K. Kothari, X.-L. Li, and H. Marschner. 1992. Contribution of mycorrhizal hyphae to nutrient and water uptake of plants, pp 43-47. In Read, D.J., D.H. Lewis, A.H. Fitter, and I.J. Alexander (Eds.). Mycorrhizas in Ecosystems. CAB International, Wallingford, UK.
O'Keefe, D.M., and D.M. Sylvia. 1991. Mechanisms of the vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal plant-growth response, pp 35-53. In Arora, D.K., B. Rai, K.G. Mukerji, and G.R. Knudsen (Eds.). Handbook of Applied Mycology. Marcel Dekker, New York, NY.
Stamets, Paul. Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press (Random House), 2005. Amazing book; will change how you view nature.
Mycelium Running entire book in PDF file
Fungi Perfecti great source for spores and info., founded by Paul Stamets
A Way To Garden article on feeding soil with micorrhizae
Mycological Glossary Or Aid to the Study of Mushrooms extensive and detailed PDF
Mycological Society of America the publications, Mycologia and Innoculum are very good
Lambert Spawn Source for professional growers
Earth's Tongue Mycology Supplies
Cecil Terence Ingold "one of the most influential mycologists of the twentieth century"
Turkey Tail Mushrooms Help Immune System Fight Cancer by Paul Stamets
Return of the Fungi Paul Stamets is on a quest to find an endangered mushroom that could cure smallpox, TB, and even bird flu. Can he unlock its secrets before deforestation and climate change wipe it out?
Interactions between mycorrhizal fungi and other soil organisms by A.H. Fitter and J. Garbaye. Plant and Soil, 159: 123-132, 1994.
Book: Ch. 11: Specificity Phenomena in Mycorrhizal Symbioses by by Randy Molina et al. Lists Cypresses as one of the trees encouraged by mycorrhizae.
Mycorrhizal Applications Mycorrhizal Applications, Inc. is a leader in the research and development of mycorrhizal inoculum for commercial use. With over 30 years of experience we have compiled the webs largest collection of mycorrhizal related content...
Plants Talk to Each Other Using an Internet of Fungus 11/12/14. Hidden under your feet is an information superhighway that allows plants to communicate and help each other out. It’s made of fungi
Ericoid mycorrhizas David Moore's World of Fungi: where mycology starts
All About Fungi by Bryce Kendrick, author of _The Fifth Kingdom_
S.A. Fertile Garden organic supplies like compost, mulch, and beneficial insects
Bio Organics adding life to soil. Sell mycorrhizal innoculants
A Wharton grad hopes there's money in fungus article about new owner of BioOrganics
Doctor Fungus all things mycological. Has abbreviations and glossasry
What are the health benefits of mushrooms? Mushrooms are naturally low in sodium, fat, cholesterol, and calories and have often been referred to as "functional foods." In addition to providing basic nutrition, they help prevent chronic disease due to the presence of antioxidants and beneficial dietary fibers such as chitin and beta-glucans.
One cup of chopped or sliced raw white mushrooms contains 15 calories, 0 grams of fat, 2.2 grams of protein, 2.3 grams of carbohydrate (including 0.7 grams of fiber and 1.4 grams of sugar). Although there are a large variety of mushrooms available, most provide the same amount of the same nutrients per serving, regardless of their shape or size.
Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins such as riboflavin, folate, thiamine, pantothenic acid, and niacin. They are also the only vegan, non-fortified dietary source of vitamin D. Mushrooms also provide several minerals that may be difficult to obtain in the diet, such as selenium, potassium, copper, iron, and phosphorus.
Beta-glucans are a type of fiber that is found in the cell walls of many types of mushrooms. Recently, beta-glucans have been the subject of extensive studies that have examined their role in improving insulin resistance and blood cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of obesity and providing an immunity boost.
Mushrooms also contain choline; an important nutrient found that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline assists in maintaining the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, supports proper fat absorption and reduces chronic inflammation.
Sauté any type of mushroom with onions for a quick and tasty side dish... Add raw sliced crimini mushrooms or white mushrooms to top any salad.
Dr. Weil: Mushrooms for Good Health? In general, I advise against eating a lot of the familiar cultivated white or "button" mushrooms found on supermarket shelves throughout the United States. (Portobello and crimini mushrooms are the same species.) They are among a number of foods (including celery, peanuts, peanut products, and salted, pickled, or smoked foods) that contain natural carcinogens. We don’t know how dangerous these toxins are, but we do know that they do not occur in other mushrooms that offer great health benefits. I strongly advise against eating these or any other types of mushrooms raw, whether they’re wild or cultivated. If you're going to eat them cook them well, at high temperatures, by sauteeing, broiling, or grilling. Heat breaks down many of the toxic constituents.
Dr. Mercola: The Health Benefits of Mushroom Consumption Mushrooms contain some of the most potent natural medicines on the planet. Of the 140,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi, science is familiar with only 10 percent, according to world-renown mycologist Paul Stamets, who has written six books on the topic.
About 100 species of mushrooms are being studied for their health-promoting benefits. Of those hundred, about a half dozen really stand out for their ability to deliver a tremendous boost to your immune system.
It's important to eat only organically grown mushrooms because they absorb and concentrate whatever they grow in — good OR bad. This is what gives mushrooms their potency. Mushrooms are known to concentrate heavy metals, as well as air and water pollutants, so healthy growing conditions is a critical factor.
As a defense against bacterial invasion, fungi have developed strong antibiotics, which also happen to be effective for us humans. Penicillin, streptomycin, and tetracycline all come from fungal extracts.
Mushrooms that can help boost the nutrient content of your diet include: shiitake, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, and Himematsutake.
5 health benefits of mushrooms slideshow Many varieties of mushrooms contain good-for-your-bladder selenium and, like us, they produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Oyster mushrooms are a good source or iron. Plus, they're low in calories: Six medium white, for example, have just 22.
Increase your vitamin D:
Boost your immune system:
Eat your antioxidants:
Kick up your metabolism:
Be good to your bladder:
Mushroom Benefits For thousands of years, Eastern cultures have revered mushrooms’ health benefits.1 Mushrooms have long been celebrated as a source of powerful nutrients.
Mushroom Info includes lots of recipes
Mushrooms 4 Health BY GREG MARLEY
Power of Mushrooms article on flavor without salt.
Are Mushrooms Good for You? Mushrooms are also quite good at neutralizing free radicals, those renegade molecules that can otherwise get up to no good. In fact, you might be surprised (as I was) to learn that when it comes to antioxidant power, the plain old white button mushroom beats out even colorful veggies like green peppers, carrots, green beans, and tomatoes! Best of all, mushrooms contain antioxidants that are not deactivated or destroyed by cooking.
In addition to being antioxidant powerhouses, mushrooms contain unique compounds that appear to boost your immune defense.
You can boost the vitamin D content of mushrooms by putting them on a sunny windowsill or—if sunlight is not plentiful—a UVB bulb works, too. You’ll find UVB bulbs at pet stores that carry supplies for reptiles. Just put your mushrooms under the bulb for a couple of hours and then cook and eat them as usual. This method is so effective that it can even reverse a vitamin D deficiency.
Dried mushrooms can be reconstituted in warm water and then added to soups, casseroles, or stir-fries. Reserve the soaking water after removing the mushrooms. This mushroom “liquor” adds depth and richness to soups or stews—or use it as the liquid to cook rice or other grains.
I also just discovered these great dried mushroom and spice blends from a company called Fungus Among Us. You can sprinkle them over eggs, sandwich fillings, and cooked vegetables. They also make wonderful dry rubs for meat, tofu, or fish. And for a really fantastic dip, try combining 2 tablespoons of the Pacific Blend (organic oyster mushrooms smoked with thyme and cayenne) with 4 ounces of reduced fat cream cheese. Refrigerate over night to let the flavor develop. Serve with crackers or raw vegetables for a healthy, gourmet appetizer.
Fungus Among Us Organic Mushroom products and seasonings--dried mushrooms for sale--health benefits of various mushroom varieties
Fungi-zette Newsletter Greenville, California area
MykoWeb fungi of California
Glossary of mycological terms agaric — a term commonly used to describe a fungus having a cap (pileus), gills (lamellae), and a stem (stipe), i.e., what most people would call a mushroom.
Bibliography of Mycological Reference Materials only has one old Stamets book.
Gulf States Mycological Society website is down
The Great Morel A Tribute to Shroomers--bunches of information.
Mushroom Hobby California and Beyond
Tom Volk's Fungi lots on fungi research
Laccaria bicolor a mycorrhizal member of the Basidiomycota. Of course mycorrhizae (literally "fungus roots") are mutually beneficial relationships between fungi and plants-- the fungus gets sugars from photosynthesis while supplying the plant with essential minerals and increased water uptake. Laccaria bicolor was the first mutualistic fungus to have its entire genome sequenced.
Long before its genome was sequenced, L. bicolor was a favorite species for researchers studying ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi. Unlike most other EM fungi, L. bicolor can be grown in culture (from basidiospores or tissue samples) and paired with the roots of its mycorrhizal partner trees (pines and other conifers) in the laboratory, allowing studies of its physiology, biochemistry, and interaction with its plant partner to be studied under controlled conditions. Because most EM plants do not grow well, if at all, without EM fungi, L. bicolor has also been widely used in forestry to colonize the roots of conifer trees prior to outplanting.
Less Lawn info. on lawn alternatives and no-mow yards
The Humongous Fungus--Ten Years Later The fungus Armillaria bulbosa is among the largest and oldest living organisms. Nature 356:428-431),
Tom Volk's Fungi--FAQs Q. Can I eat it? A. Probably not. Of the 70.000 species of fungi about 250 species are considered good delicious edibles. Another 250 species can kill you-- or at least make you wish you were dead. Everything else is something in between-- from some that are "sort of ok tasting if there's nothing else to eat and you're starving in the woods" to some that are "just too bitter or taste too bad to eat," or some that are too small or too tough to eat or that have something else wrong with them.
Wild Mushrooms Factsheet--Ohio State Univ. Many pics.
Basic Mushrooming Missouri... Poisonous mushrooms can contaminate other mushrooms.
Myco Society Colorado. Irritating pop-up ads
The Kingdom Fungi The Mycota, or the Fungi, are usually conisidered to be a separate taxonomic Kingdom from either plants or animals... covers diseases caused by fungi
George Barron's Website on Fungi lots of info.
Studies in the Amanitaceae white paper quality info.
Mycology Tips Initially, mycology was studied under botany. Later, it was found that fungi are evolutionary so they are more similar to animals than plants. A publication by Pier Antonio Micheli in 1737 started the research on fungi. The term mycology was coined by M.J. Berkeley in 1836, who was a famous mycologist.
CyberLiber on Mycology Mycological literature is extensive, diverse and often dispersed. The objective of this website is to facilitate access to that literature by providing bibliographic lists of references. The present version of the site provides extensive bibliographic information for mycological publications, most dating from the early 1800s to the 1980s, and covering many works in Russian and Ukrainian.
Glossary of Tree Health Terms covers a lot of fungi
Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farm Gonzales, TX. USDA-certified. Kitchen Pride is the only family-owned, full-service, Texas-based Mushroom Farm in Texas. Firmly established nationally as one of the nation’s premier mushroom farms, Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farms is one of the most modern mushroom growing facilities in the United States.
Beatrix Potter, Mycologist: The Beloved Children’s Book Author’s Little-Known Scientific Studies and Illustrations of Mushrooms Beatrix Potter (July 28, 1866–December 22, 1943) is one of the most beloved and influential storytellers of all time.
At a time when women had no right to vote and virtually no access to higher education, very rarely owned property and were themselves considered the property of their husbands, Potter became a commercially successful writer and artist, using the royalties from her books to purchase her famed Hill Top Farm, where she lived simply and with great love for the land for the remaining four decades of her life.
But no aspect of Potter’s kaleidoscopic genius is more fascinating than her vastly underappreciated contribution to science and natural history, which comes to life in Linda Lear’s altogether magnificent Beatrix Potter: A Life in Nature (public library) — by far the best book on Potter and one of the finest biographies ever written, Lear’s prose itself a supreme work of art.
Flammulina velutipes (Armitt Museum and Library)
By her early twenties, Potter had developed a keen interest in mycology and began producing incredibly beautiful drawings of fungi, collecting mushroom specimens herself and mounting them for careful observation under the microscope. In the winter months, she frequented London’s Natural History Museum to study their displays.
Hygrophorus puniceus (Armitt Museum and Library)
But her interest went far beyond the mere aesthetics or symbolism of mushrooms — she was studious about their taxonomy, taught herself the proper technique for accurate botanical illustration, and worked tirelessly to get an introduction to the eminent mycologist Charles McIntosh. With his help and encouragement, she continued advancing her microscopic observations, which kindled in her an intense fascination with how mushrooms reproduced — something poorly understood at the time. Potter soon began conducting her own experiments with spores she had germinated herself. She was particularly captivated by lichens, considered at the time the “poor peasants of the plant world,” in the words of the great botanist Linnaeus — a statement itself belying the dearth of scientific understanding at the time, for lichens are not plants but a hybrid of fungi and algae.
Himeola auricula (Armitt Museum and Library)
This hybrid nature, first proposed by the Swiss botanist Simon Schwendener in 1869 and believed by no one else for decades, seemed so laughable a concept that “Schwendenerist” became a term of derision. But young Beatrix’s experiments convinced her that Schwendener was on to something with his “dual hypothesis.” She set down her theories and empirical findings in a paper titled “On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae,” accompanied by her breathtakingly detailed illustrations.
Strobilomyces strobilaceus (Armitt Museum and Library)
The Woodwide Web by Susan Goldhor
For a long time I thought of the forest as the ultimate in capitalist ecosystems, where the capital was sunlight and the trees reaching the canopy were the plutocrats. Or, as I privately termed them, the Donald Trunks. As for those below... well, every system has its losers, right?
[Scientists] discovered that the above-ground capitalism of the forest had a social services underground, with a complicated fungal web connecting plants together by their roots, taking from the Haves to give to the Have-Nots. A fungal safety net!
In some estimates, big trees lose/donate as much as 40% of their sugars from their roots and, although some of that goes to feed the soil’s other inhabitants, most of it goes directly to the trees’ fungal partners. These partners (and one tree can have more than twenty different fungal partners) are attached to the roots so thickly as to cover them, but they also maintain connections to others of the same species and to other plants.
It’s this network, which some clever person has termed the “wood-wide web” which keeps those understory plants and light-deprived seedlings alive on the forest floor. That tiny hemlock tree that doesn’t even reach your knee and has a stem thinner than a pencil? It might be a hundred years old. Supported by the web, it’s waiting for an ice storm or a hurricane or a logger to open up the canopy and give it sun and space to grow.
No tree is an island. No tree lives by sunlight and carbon dioxide alone. Tree roots exist for physical support. They’re really not very good at accessing water and nutrients.
It’s the fungal web that can find distant patches of water; that can leach phosphorus from minute mineral particles; that rots debris and kills insects to get nitrogen, and then shares all this with the big trees in exchange for sugar.
Radical Mycology I'm a bit of a fungi nerd, and with good reason, as fungi are one of the key elements of life on Earth while being one of the least understood, at least in terms of the sheer volume of varieties and how they interact with the rest of the systems on the planet. I'm currently reading Radical Mycology: A Treatise on Seeing and Working With Fungi, which is an incredible foray into the world of fungi, and was kind of blown away by the fact that of an estimated 15 million species on Earth, some 6 million of them may be fungi, and yet only about 75,000 of them, or 1.5%, have been classified as now. This means that the study of mycology is one of the areas of the life sciences that is still relatively untapped, and because of what we're now starting to learn about fungal networks and mycelial 'internets,'
Tyroler glückspilze Everything to be happy--mushrooms [Deutsch]
Soil ImprovementMycorrhizal Fungi: The Amazing Underground Secret to a Better Garden Nurture the ancient, symbiotic relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and plants’ roots for increased garden harvests and healthier soil.
We still define natural habitats primarily in terms of plants and animals, the two kingdoms of life we can see with unaided eyes. The greatest amount of biological activity and the largest diversity of species and genes, however, come from the other four kingdoms science now recognizes: bacteria, archaea (a less-studied division of life-forms formerly considered bacteria), protists (mostly single-celled algae and protozoans), and fungi.
The vast majority of these members are microscopic in size. They cannot be seen with the naked eye, but we now know they permeate soils and suffuse waters. They drift en masse through air. They thrive not only on the surface of every plant and animal, but within them as well. From the upper reaches of the atmosphere to the bottom of the seas, down into the rock layers and outnumbering the stars in the known universe, microbes are literally the creatures that make Earth a living planet.
Microbes remain mostly in the “out of sight, out of mind” category of nature for a lot of folks. Others, chemical spray in hand, can hardly stop thinking about them, envisioning “germs,” mold spores and other unseen swarmers poised to unleash disease and rot. Either way, a broader understanding of the life-forms that truly put the “bio” in “biosphere” has been slow to emerge.
Interest is building, though, as the public learns more about the positive roles microorganisms play, including how some types can boost yields in gardens. These mycorrhizae — extraordinary fungi that interact with our garden crops — are what we’ll be zooming in on.
A white fungal network called hyphae, not plant roots, is the principal structure for the uptake of many important nutrients in the plant kingdom. / The hyphae of mycorrhizal fungi are only a single cell wide, and they penetrate a root’s cell wall to facilitate nutrient exchanges between the fungi and the root tip. This illustration is magnified about 200 times. Illustrations by Michael Rothman
I’m a wildlife biologist. Decades ago, I visited a team working to restore streamsides churned to bare gravel by placer mining. They were planting willow and alder in hopes of stabilizing the banks and preventing further erosion. Other vegetation could then move in and once again shade the passing waters, cooling them for native trout and spawning salmon. I was already picturing songbirds returning to nest in the lush foliage while mink, otters, and bears patrolled the shores, except the normally hardy willow and alder wouldn’t grow. They withered instead, and the banks stayed empty — until the team prepared the next batch to be planted by first soaking their roots in a broth containing certain fungi. This is common practice today. It wasn’t then. Besides changing the way I’ve planted trees at home ever since, the visit made me realize that my view of the most important wildlife in ecosystems might be upside-down.
What is called a mushroom is merely the temporary structure some fungi grow to produce spores. The main body of a fungus typically consists of a network of fine-branching threads known as “hyphae.” While you’ll sometimes see them massed together, spread like a web across a decomposing log, they’re usually hidden underground and essentially invisible to us; the individual filaments are only a single cell wide.
The network of fungal hyphae is called a “mycelium.” As it turns out, the largest known creature on Earth is neither a blue whale nor a redwood tree; it’s the several-hundred-ton mycelium of one humongous fungus that’s between 2,000 and 8,000 years old. Spread across 4 square miles of Oregon’s Blue Mountains, the fungal network grows at an average depth of only a few feet. By contrast, the mycelia of most species are small, but they’re as common as, well, dirt. If you pick up a pinch of soil almost anywhere, you’ll have miles of hyphae in your hand.
Estimates for the number of fungi species run in the millions. Mycologists have identified close to 100,000 so far. Of those, nearly 6,000 interact with plants’ roots. These are roughly divided into two types: those in which the fungus remains outside the root’s cells (ectomycorrhizal fungi) and those that penetrate the root’s cells (endomycorrhizal fungi, illustrated in the Slideshow).
The outcome in both cases is a continual exchange of goods. Ten to 20 percent of the sugars a plant produces through photosynthesis are absorbed by the mycorrhizae. In return, the fungus delivers many essential nutrients to the plant and increases drought resistance.
Higher crop yields can be the result for gardeners. As the ends of the hyphae weave among soil particles via cracks and crannies too small for even the narrowest root hair, the mycelium becomes an auxiliary root system that’s in contact with a subterranean volume of soil from several hundred to 2,500 times greater than what the plant could reach alone.
Plants routinely face a challenge absorbing enough of certain key elements, such as phosphorus, nitrogen, potassium and iron. Fungi don’t face this obstacle; they produce specialized acids and enzymes that break the bonds that bind those nutrients to soil and organic compounds. Although we call this process “decay” and attach a morbid aura to the word, it’s a lively enterprise.
Gardeners recognize this decomposition from their compost piles. It’s no surprise that a plant with hundreds, if not thousands, of miles of hyphae working on the plant’s behalf to mine key nutrients and freight them back to the roots is able to grow faster, stay healthier, and ultimately yield more than it would without the fungi’s partnership.
Leeks inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi (right) grow much better than those planted without an inoculant (left). Photo by Paul Pierlott /
Polish scientist Franciszek Kamienski gets credit for discovering in the 1880s that the fungus and plant combination was in fact a symbiosis — a mutually beneficial partnership. A contemporary gave it the name “mycorrhiza,” which is Latin for fungus-root. Don’t get freaked out by the Latin. Just say it with me: my-core-rise-uh. The plural is mycorrhizae: rise-A.
At least 90 percent of all plant families are known to partner with mycorrhizal fungi. These associations can be between a single fungus species and a single plant species, but most plants associate with many species of fungi, and vice versa. Mycorrhizae are by no means considered the exception any longer. They rule. Mycorrhizae, not plant roots, are the principal structures for most nutrient uptake in the plant kingdom.
The first plants that colonized land some 400 to 500 million years ago were descendants of aquatic algae. According to fossil evidence, symbioses with fungi appeared shortly afterward. Some think they had already formed before the proto-plants even left the water. Either way, mycorrhizae would have greatly improved early plants’ chances of adapting to the stresses imposed by the harsher and less predictable environments encountered on shore, especially since those plants hadn’t really developed roots yet. In a sense, helping plants cope with the demands of life on land is what mycorrhizae have been doing ever since.
Although we think of fungi being most at home in deep, dank forests, they’re surprisingly abundant in open shrublands and prairies, too. The outer walls of hyphae contain gluey compounds that cause fine particles of earth to clump together on and around the threads. This process is a major factor in building soil structure and making the ground less vulnerable to erosion.
Mycelial networks also play a valuable role in sequestering carbon within microclusters of filaments. They limit their partner plants’ exposure to heavy metals, such as lead, zinc and cadmium, by keeping those elements bound to the hyphae’s sticky sheath.
At high latitudes and high altitudes, mycorrhizal fungi scrounge nutrients from cold, rocky soils. In boggy regions, the hyphae buffer plant partners from the high acid content of peaty soils. In saline ground, the hyphae help safeguard their partners from high salt concentrations. Mycorrhizae can also protect plants from pests and diseases.
How can a gardener take advantage of this symbiotic relationship that plants and fungi have been developing for 400 million years? Microbiologist David Douds of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has been studying that question for 35 years. His studies show that fungal inoculants can increase the yields of many vegetable and field crops, including leeks, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
Inoculants can give transplants a strong start, but the main key to raising good crops lies in maintaining healthy communities of native mycorrhizal fungi in the ground itself. Douds cautions against heavy or frequent tilling and the use of chemical fertilizers (especially phosphorus) and soil-applied fungicides. These activities break apart, weaken or otherwise suppress beneficial microbes, including fungal mycelia. You can keep your soil in prime condition by minimizing disturbances apart from occasional light tilling, weeding and mulching.
How to Use Cover Crops and Other Techniques to Increase Beneficial Fungi PopulationsAn equally important step is to ensure that mycorrhizal fungi survive through winter and early spring. The kinds of mycorrhizal fungi that support many garden crops aren’t capable of living and reproducing independently of their plant partners. In a carefully weeded and fully harvested garden, mycorrhizal fungi numbers can decline for lack of live roots to colonize.
Douds advises avoiding empty beds by keeping plants, whether food crops or cover crops growing at all times. (See Cover Crops and Cover Crops 2 for ideas.) In fall, plant rye, oats or, Douds’ favorite, hairy vetch. All of these plants have extensive root systems and readily harbor mycorrhizae.
Rows of perennial onions and strawberries can also serve as reservoirs for overwintering fungi. Orchards don’t require the same attention, but buffer strips of a grass-and-legume blend will help retain a mix of fungi.
Douds sows hairy vetch in September while his garden is still producing, targeting areas where the soil is accessible, such as under and around tomato plants.
The following year — usually late May when the hairy vetch is in full flower — he chops the shoots and lets them lie on the soil’s surface. Wait until the hairy vetch is in full flower; cut it too soon and it will re-sprout as a “weed,” but cut it too late and it will produce seeds, which can be problematic. Douds then transplants his tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables into the hairy vetch mulch.
Since learning about mycorrhizae’s reliance on live plants for winter survival, Mother’s Editor-in-Chief, Cheryl Long, has grown a thin strip of perennial alfalfa along the edges of her garden paths. “It doesn’t take up growing space, and during summer I cut it for protein-rich poultry feed,” Long says.
Many gardeners know that over-fertilization can be harmful, but they may not be aware that phosphorus builds up in soil more readily than the other two elements in common fertilizer mixes (nitrogen and potassium). Under a regimen of frequent, well-intended application, phosphorus can reach levels that actually discourage the formation of mycorrhizae. Phosphorus is the middle number of the N-P-K percentages shown on fertilizer products. Choose low “P” numbers unless a soil test has shown your soil is low in phosphorus.
Now that scientists have taught us that invisible, magical mycorrhizae are in the soil, minimal tilling and constant cover crops should be considered a routine part of growing good crops. If you want to take extra steps in spring to help your crops establish these remarkable plant-fungi partnerships, Douds, in cooperation with the Rodale Institute, has developed a technique you can use to grow your own fungal inoculum to give your transplants a head start at the very beginning of their lives. For details, visit the Rodale Institute.
Quick and Easy Guide: On-farm AM fungus inoculum production Following is the crib-notes recipe for producing beneficial AM fungus inoculum on-farm.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, Colby Glass, MLIS, Professor Emeritus