Ganoderma species complex research published today in PLoS by Andrew Loyd, PhD.

Elucidating “lucidum”: Distinguishing the diverse laccate Ganoderma species of the United States 

Abstract
Ganoderma is a large, diverse and globally-distributed genus in the Basidiomycota that includes species causing a white rot form of wood decay on a variety of tree species. For the past century, many studies of Ganoderma in North America and other regions of the world have used the name G. lucidum sensu lato for any laccate (shiny or varnished) Ganoderma species growing on hardwood trees or substrates. Molecular studies have established that G. lucidum sensu stricto (Curtis) Karst is native to Europe and some parts of China. To determine the species of the laccate Ganoderma that are present in the United States, we studied over 500 collections from recently collected samples and herbarium specimens from hardwoods, conifers, and monocots. A multilocus phylogeny using ITS, tef1α, rpb1 and rpb2 revealed three well-supported clades, similar to previously reported findings. From the U.S. collections, thirteen taxa representing twelve species were identified, including: G. curtisii, G. lucidum sensu stricto, G. martinicense, G. oregonense, G. polychromum, G. ravenelii, G. sessile, G. tsugae, G. tuberculosum, G. cf. weberianum, G. zonatum, and Tomophagus colossus (syn. G. colossus). The species G. meredithiae is synonymized with G. curtisii, and considered a physiological variant that specializes in decay of pines. The designation G. curtisii f.sp. meredithiae forma specialis nov. is proposed. Species such as G. curtisii and G. sessile, once considered as G. lucidum sensu lato, were found to be divergent from one another, and highly divergent from G. lucidum sensu stricto. Morphological characteristics such as context tissue color and features (e.g. melanoid bands), basidiospore shape and size, geographic location, and host preference were found to aid in species identification. Surprisingly, G. lucidum sensu stricto was found in the U.S., but only in geographically restricted areas of northern Utah and California. These collections appear to have resulted from the introduction of this species into the United States possibly from mushroom growers producing G. lucidum outdoors. Overall, this study clarifies the chaotic taxonomy of the laccate Ganoderma in the United States, and will help to remove ambiguities from future studies focusing on the North American species of laccate Ganoderma.

The mushroom of immortality?

New research published in Frontiers in Microbiology  questions what is really in those supplements that claim to contain Ganoderma lucidum, (otherwise known as reishi in Japan and lingzhi in China), an Asian species renown as a panacea.

Read more

SAFEPS 2018

The University of Florida Forest Pathology lab presented research on laurel wilt disease, pine pitch canker, the wood decay fungus Ganoderma, Torreya taxifolia, and the Araucarias of New Caledonia at the 27th Southern Appalachian Forest Entomology and Pathology Seminar at the North Carolina Forest Service Mountain Training Facility. Researchers from Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Virginia and the Carolinas presented updates on efforts to combat Emerald Ash Borer, Southern Pine Beetle, the devastating Hemlock Wooly Adelgid and other pests of southeastern forests.

30 micron slice of redbay stem

Tyloses are bladder-like or balloon-like projections that block the xylem. In this photo you can see a tan ball inside one of the xylem cells (large openings). It’s almost right in the center. These are what essentially kill the plants in the cases of laurel wilt and Dutch elm disease.

Micrograph and words by PhD candidate student Stephanie Adams.

Over 2 days the Torreya Tree of Life event brought together leading conservation biologists to help save America’s rarest tree.


At Torreya – Tree of Life, 100 biologists met at the UF/ IFAS North Florida Research and Education Center in Quincy and at the breathtaking Torreya State Park to brainstorm a plan to preserve the biodiversity of the Florida panhandle.

LAUNCH PHOTO SLIDESHOW

 

Every species plays its part in the tree of life

It was a perfect day for a hike through the ravines of the Apalachicola River basin north of the Gulf in the Florida panhandle. Dozens of biologists got to spend over an hour on the forest floor listening to E.O. Wilson talk about biodiversity and reminisce on the conditions of life in his old stomping grounds. A beautiful day to interact with other great scientists on how to bring the Florida torreya back from the brink of extinction.

The race is on to save this beautiful rare tree, because all life is connected and we are connected to all life on earth. Experts in conservation, forestry and biodiversity have teamed up to plan how best to protect this ancient conifer.