Luminous mushrooms

Objectives:

The ongoing study that commenced in
1988 is intended to culminate in :

1. the long term preservation by propagation of the rarer mushroom
species, also
2. to endeavour to add debate to and possibly correct some erroneous
general published material in which invalid assumptions have been made, and
3. eventually to develop a range of practical bioluminescent
applications.
The first task however was to consistently succeed in the most expedient production of the
fungi in natural environment applications. 
This has been a slow process depending on the type of timber used, ( 3 years for soft
timber and 5 years for hardwood to date from the first log inoculations), although we have
settled on soft-hardwood species of timber as the growing medium.

More
Information
 
icon_lampadis.jpg (1450 bytes)Mycena
lampadis.[Maguire 1988]

(Status = rare )
(Originally classified for study purposes as Type_B ) this larger mushroom is
approximately 30-40mm pileus diameter and tends to be in smaller numbers on logs on the
ground in the advanced stage of decomposition of the sapwood.
icon_multessimum.jpg (987 bytes)Mycena
multesimum.[Maguire 1988]

(Status = rare )
(Originally classified for study purposes as Type_A )
A smaller luminous mushroom of 10-12mm pileus diameter  that clusters on standing
tree bark or damaged trees where the wood is exposed.
icon_minutissimum.jpg (1002 bytes)Mycena
minutissimum.[Maguire 2006]
 

(Status = rare )
(Originally classified for study purposes as Type_D )
A smaller more delicate luminous mushroom of 5 to 6mm pileus diameter  that appears
individually on the rough bark collar of rainforest trees usually close to the ground. It
is rarely sighted.
Although similar to Mycena multessimum, it has a different hymenium configuration , a
different pileus shape and a shorter stipe length.
icon_delicatum.jpg (6675 bytes)Mycena delicatum
[Maguire 2006]

(Status = luminous substrate material common, mushroom sightings rare).
By far the smallest mushroom found here to date has a pileus diameter of 1mm -1.5mm and a
variable stipe length of  8 -12mm depending on the moisture content of where it is
found growing.
Only grows on decomposing fallen leaf material that we originally described as being
luminous
leaf litter.
icon_chlorophanos.jpg (1667 bytes)Mycena chlorophanos [Shepherd
& Totterdell 1988] 
(Status = common)
Currently mis-named Mycena chlorophos by others, this medium size clustering specimen has
a distinctive dark brown cap on the pileus and is the most commonly sighted luminous
Mycena in Queensland.  Approximately 15-20mm pileus diameter.

1997.
A closer look at one of the luminous mushrooms that didn’t glow



For reasons unknown, occasionally clusters of mushrooms germinate on the same log as
the luminous mushroom but produce specimens that do not display any bioluminescent
properties. These non-luminous mushrooms are identical in appearance to the luminous
parent but lack the sticky fluid coating.

Stem Tissue Propagation

Given that the end result of sporing from luminous mushrooms could be unreliable in
growing “true-to-type” we elected to use stem tissue propagation of the best
specimens for our mycelium production to minimise the risk of wasting 3/5 years growing
what may turn out to be non luminescent specimens.
See pics of tissue culture

lm_under_sm.jpg (7733 bytes)

 

Looking at the
underside with the stipe (stem) cut away , note the hollow stipe section devoid of the
sticky secretion that usually spreads across the pileus of the mushroom.
The use of this sticky fluid produced by the mushrooms although as yet undetermined, could
be  excreted to cover the pileus as either a UV sun-screening fluid to protect the
micro-thin pileus from solar radiation, or to protect the mushroom from being prematurely
eaten by insects and gastropods.
Interesting to note that these non-bioluminescent fruitbodies are rarely eaten by
nocturnal insects and gastropods that are attracted instead to the bioluminescent
fruitbodies on the same logs.
The absence of this sticky fluid on occasional specimens that do not display
bioluminescent properties causes premature desiccation of the mushrooms when exposed to
sunlight.
Note also the distortion of the hymenium.

Click the image for magnified view

lm_hood_sm.jpg (6220 bytes)

 

Micro-thin pileus
membrane cut away to expose  the hymenium.
Note the absence of a fluid secretion orifice in the centre of the pileus.

 

Click the image for magnified view

Large
Fungi Predators
Whilst
crickets and snails are the main fungi predators here, a huge
range of insects and gastropods from gnats, cockroaches, beetles,
slugs and snails depend on fungi for their food. Below are the
major contributors to the nightly feasting on my mushroom
farms.  

Black_Cricket_sm.jpg (17381 bytes)

Black
Cricket

Appears to be a close ‘cousin’ of the White Kneed cricket (pic
below).
Many species of small and large crickets here are attracted to,
and devour, our luminous mushrooms.

Click the image
for magnified view

 

White Kneed
cricket (Papuastas.sp)

Click the image
for magnified view

thorny_cricket_035sm.jpg (10416 bytes)Thorny
Cricket

Click the image
for magnified view

Panda Snail


These giant snails
have a voracious appetite for luminous fungi.
I have seen two of these snails devour a 150mm diameter mushroom
in a matter of hours.

 

Click the image
for magnified view

 

Minute
Fungi Predators
mycelia_bug_56_sm.jpg (3961 bytes)

Entomobryidae / Collembola 

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Entognatha (disputed)
Subclass:  Collembola
Order:  Entomobryomorpha
Superfamily: Entomobryoidea
Family:Entomobryidae

 

Mycelium bug in cultures 03-03-2011


In addition to slugs,
snails , crickets, cockroaches, beetles and gnats , we can now add
yet another creature to the
list of species that depend on luminous mushrooms for their food,
a species of springtail (Collembola)

4/0.1x objective pic via
microscope/CCD camera of a flea-like bug living in the mycelium in the petrie dishes. As
all my petrie dishes are sealed with tape, the bugs or eggs of this bug must have either
been in the gills of the mushroom when the spore was collected or on the spores before
they were germinated.
They were not noticed during the spore germination process, which leads me to believe that
they emerged from eggs as the mycelium grew from the spores.
Being so small (0.1 to 0.2mm approx) the bugs were missed being spotted, but were noticed
multiplying in recent mycelia replates. These bugs possibly account for a contamination we
had here previously that developed into a black liquid slime mould emerging through the
mycelium on the plates as a black bubble. Several infested plates have been treated to
exterminate these bugs before any more replating is done.

Click the image for magnified view

 

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