Media Review

Edible Mycorrhizal Mushrooms and Their Cultivation:
Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Edible Mycorrhizal Mushrooms

Ian R. Hall, Wang Yun, Alessandra Zambonelli, and Eric Danell, eds.
Christchurch: New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research, Ltd., 2002. (CD-ROM)

As I write this, the Third International Conference on Edible Mycorrhizal Mushrooms is underway on Vancouver Island, B.C., not far from my home in Seattle. These conferences are held in loose conjunction with the International Conference on Mycorrhizas (ICOM) and provide a forum for researchers and practitioners in the production of edible ectomycorrhizal fungi to meet and share thoughts, results, and an occasional beer.

Edible

In July 2001, the second conference was held in Christchurch, New Zealand, prior to ICOM-3 in South Australia. This CD provides, in no-frills fashion, the proceedings from the meeting. The 31 full papers and 10 additional abstracts are included within four broad categories: Introductory Papers; Cultivation of Edible Mycorrhizal Mushrooms; Molecular, Taxonomic, and Physiological Studies; and Ecological Studies.

Some of the papers that I think would be of interest to mushroomhunters and -growers are "A list of edible ectomycorrhizal mushrooms," "Truffles and other edible mycorrhizal mushrooms-some new crops for the Southern Hemisphere," "Current research on chanterelle cultivation in Sweden," "The cultivation of Lactarius deliciosus and Rhizopogon rubescens in New Zealand," "Truffle silviculture in Mediterranean forests," "Growth stimulation of a shiro-like mycelium of Tricholoma matsutake on artificial substrates following addition of nonionic surfactants or vegetable oils," "Ecological description of pine mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare) habitat in British Columbia and applications to forest planning," "Edible mycorrhizal mushrooms of the west highland of Guatemala," "How do local people make use of wild edible fungi? Personal narratives from Malawi," "The edible mycorrhizal mushrooms of polluted and unpolluted beech stands," and "Tree rings and fruit body production of mycorrhizal mushrooms" (the last two are abstracts only).

"Cultivation" for most commercial mushroom-growers and hobbyists involves saprotrophic fungi such as Agaricus and Pleurotus and, with some practice, can be a fairly straightforward and predictable process. Because of their symbiotic nature, growing ectomycorrhizal fungi is far more difficult, so those you encounter in your local gourmet market nearly always have been gathered from the wilds. If you are becoming bored with producing huge flushes of oysters and shiitake, cultivating chanterelles, boletes, and truffles might offer an exciting new challenge. The articles on this CD provide a handy entré into the field, in terms of both what's being done and who's doing it. Unfortunately, the price may deter those with just a casual fancy. However, if you have a deep interest in mushroom growing and can afford the tab, you'll find much of interest here.

The CD is available at: www.crop.cri.nz/psp/products/Emushroom.htm. Price 59.95 NZ$ plus shipping (total approximately $45.50).

Review by Steve Trudell, Seattle, WA
Originally published in The Mycophile 46:6, 2003