Sunday, August 17, 2014

New fungi in packet of dried mushrooms

New species of mushroom found in commercial packet
DNA sequencing revealed that a store-bought packet of what seemed to be dried porcini mushrooms contained three species with no scientific names.
Image: Rebecca Siegel/Flickr
Turns out your delicious pasta sauce may or may not contain porcini mushrooms!
Two mycologists from the Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in the UK, Bryn Dentinger and Laura Martinez-Suz, got unexpected results when they analysed the contents of a commercial packet of dried Chinese porcini mushrooms bought in a store in London. After doing DNA testing of the 15 pieces, they discovered that they belong to three previously unidentified species. 

Porcini mushrooms are consumed all over the world. It is estimated that annual worldwide production reaches up to 100,000 metric tonnes. But not all porcini are created equal—and this research reveals that they are much more diverse than we might think. 

China, where the packet originated, is one of the main exporters of this ingredient to Europe, but having an effective method of identification when collecting mushrooms in the wild can be difficult. 

Dentinger and Martinez-Suz’s diagnostic research aims to stress the importance of correctly identifying the food we eat, which, as they state in their paper, “is essential for regulating global food trade and identifying food frauds”.
Science Alert: 

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