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Research: Porcini Mushrooms Have Evolved With A Preference For Local Adaptation

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In the journal New Phytologist, the Dentinger Lab at the Natural History Museum of Utah has released a contentious new study that details their research with the adored fungus Boletus edulis, often known as the porcini and more widely known as a porcini mushroom.

Terroir, a French word made popular by viticulturists, quickly springs to mind. Terroir refers to the regional elements, such as soil types, sunshine availability, slope complexity, microclimate, soil microorganisms, etc., that contribute to the distinctiveness of each vineyard’s wines. The ecology of the area and how it affects the vines, grapes, and ultimate product are all celebrated. The findings of a recent study by Tremble and Dentinger provide tantalizing evidence for mushroom hunters who contend that the porcinis in their private forest patch reflect the characteristics of their terroir.

However, this is not the study’s main focus. Since the invention of DNA sequencing, the majority of mycology genetic studies have concentrated on outlining the distinctive traits of fungi in a restricted geographic region. Dentinger and Tremble decided to try something new. They intended to better understand the global trends in how the genetic code was preserved or modified in porcini, rather than just comparing a group of mushrooms from Colorado to a group in California in order to declare them separate species. According to Dentinger, “Our study is important because it goes beyond the extremely simplistic sample strategy employed in the past.”

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