Preserving the precious Tigers Milk mushroom

December 9, 2013 by Nayan Kanwal
Tiger Milk Mushroom. Credit: Tan / Flikr

A technique to preserve cells from the rare and popular Tigers Milk Mushroom for later use is published in the latest issue of The Journal of Tropical Agriculture Science. The mushroom, Lignosus rhinoceros, is widely used by indigenous communities across Malaysia, but there are not enough to meet demand. The researchers adapted a process already used to preserve other fungi, and believe their method provides an easy and inexpensive option for long-term preservation of the desired cells.

The Tigers Milk Mushroom is important in communities in Malaysia who use it as a medicinal treatment for various ailments as well as to produce a tonic to maintain health. The desirable underground tuber can be spotted when a solitary mushroom grows above ground which makes the collection of the fungus difficult.

A technique that is successful in the cryopreservation of other underground funguses was adapted in this study to preserve and maintain the commercially potential L. rhinocerus strain in a viable state. Lai Wei Hong and colleagues at the Agro-Biotechnology Institute at the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute tested various sucrose concentrations and exposure time while deep freezing – or cryopreserving – the vegetative cells.

Of particular interest was the ability to thaw the cells without damage occurring. The team were able to perfect a method that is suitable to cryopreserve the L. rhinocerus with 100% regeneration and without the solutions infecting the . They hope that their work will be used to preserve and maintain the precious Tigers Milk Mushroom for medicinal use.

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