New Species Found in an Everyday, Store-Bought Mushroom Packet

Illustration for article titled New Species Found in an Everyday, Store-Bought Mushroom Packet

DNA testing on the contents of a dried porcini bag revealed three species without scientific names. Apparently, there are new mushrooms everywhere, including in your salad.

Mycologists Bryn Dentinger and Laura Martinez-Suz (of the Kew Roayal Botanical Gardens) discovered the species by sequencing the DNA of a commercial packet of dried Chinese porcini that they bought in London. There were 15 pieces in the package, and DNA sequencing revealed that all of them belonged to three without scientific names.

The article on Kew points out the importance of knowing what species are being imported:

The finding demonstrates the ubiquity of unknown fungal diversity, even in traded products, and the recognition of these species will enable better regulations to improve food safety and enable countries to adhere to international agreements on the exploitation of wild species.


Read Dentinger and Martinez-Suz's research here.

[via Quite Interesting News]

Photo by Bryn Dentinger

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Seems like a case of 'What is a species, anyway?'. It's not that they were unknown before, it's just that no one bothered naming them because they probably can't even be distinguished from the outside.

Just in case I'm wrong, though: I'm saying this without having read through the research and without any qualification in the field.