The unravelled mushroom genome offers many opportunities

Oct 08, 2012
Mushrooms on substrate. Credit: Anton Sonnenberg

A consortium of 20 research groups, including Wageningen UR Plant Breeding, part of Wageningen UR, has mapped the entire genome of the button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus). This represents a major step forward for research into sustainable mushroom production and health-promoting substances in mushrooms. The scientists published the mushroom genome in the scientific journal PNAS on 8 October.
 
Wageningen UR Plant Breeding provided the project with the DNA of the first mushroom hybrid developed by the research group in 1980. This variety is still the main genotype grown worldwide. "The unravelled genome is invaluable in breeding new mushroom varieties for various purposes," says Anton Sonnenberg, scientist at Wageningen UR Plant Breeding.    
 
Some 40% of the costs of mushroom farming are spent on the production of substrate. In order to make cultivation more efficient and sustainable, it is vital to know how mushrooms use this substrate. In nature, mushrooms are found on soils with lots of leaf litter where mineralisation has occurred by other micro-organisms. The mineralisation results in many complex substances such as humic acids. The unravelled genome shows how mushrooms break down the complex substrate, an insight which is especially relevant for the development of a more efficient and sustainable production of this type of edible mushroom. 

"The newly available knowledge is also significant in understanding how the mushroom mycelium can be triggered to form small buds that develop into mushrooms," adds Sonnenberg. "This budding is one of the most important processes in cultivation and being able to better control this process is a dream of every mushroom grower."
 
It has become clear over recent years that, like mushrooms grown in Eastern Asia, button mushrooms also contain substances that are beneficial to health. The unravelled genome offers an excellent foundation for developing new mushroom varieties aimed at enhancing these effects.

Explore further: Bioengineering study finds two-cell mouse embryos already talking about their future

Related Stories

Breaking biomass better

Jul 12, 2010

One of the challenges in making cellulosic biofuels commercially viable is to cost-effectively deconstruct plant material to liberate fermentable energy-rich sugars. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is ...

Breaking down cellulose without blasting lignin

Jul 14, 2011

Feared by realtors and homeowners alike, dry rot due to the fungus Serpula lacrymans causes millions of dollars worth of damage to homes and buildings around the world. This brown rot fungus' capacity to bre ...

Wood's 'noble rot' fungus genetically decoded

Jul 19, 2010

An international team including Empa researcher Francis Schwarze has sequenced the genome of the common split gill mushroom, Schizophyllum commune, a widely distributed fungus which grows on and decomposes wood. The genome ...

Recommended for you

Cataloguing 10 million human gut microbial genes

Nov 25, 2014

Over the past several years, research on bacteria in the digestive tract (gut microbiome) has confirmed the major role they play in our health. An international consortium, in which INRA participates, has developed the most ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.