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New commercial varieties of oreille de chardon mushroom


The Genetic and Microbiological research group at the Navarre Public University is working with the Agruset company from Rioja in the production of new commercial varieties of the fungus oreille de chardon mushroom (Pleurotus eryngii). The same group has developed 150 new varieties of the oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), which enhances the productivity and quality of the varieties of this fungus which are currently being commercialised.

Mushroom agreeable to the palate

The Pleurotus eryngii mushroom, known in French as the oreille de chardon, is more agreeable to the palate and tastier than the Pleurotus ostreatus or the oyster mushroom, the variety which we most frequently find in the shops. The problem with the former is there is currently no standardised method for its cultivation or for the substrate in which it grows and, thus, its production is more expensive. A tray of P. ostreatus may cost 1.8€, whereas the eryngii will cost four times more.

A group of researchers from Navarre had a double objective. First, to standardise the growing conditions and substrate composition for the fungus and, secondly, to obtain new commercial varieties of this mushroom.

The standarisation phase for substrates is relatively short. The lengthiest process is the design of new varieties, because the most suitable strains in the available germoplasm have to be found, crossed amongst themselves and new molecular tools designed to enable directed crosses. It should be taken into account that these fungi are all the same in appearance, so some type of identification sign has to found.

I.D. card

Finally, the research includes typification and the drawing up of an identification card for the new varieties. One has to consider that the fungi propagate vegetatively, and so a company-improved piece there of may be picked and an identical sample achieved in its laboratory and, thus, all the investment carried out in research is in vain.

This card provides extra guarantees to companies like Agruset. It provides them with an ID card for its variety in such a way that it is assured, in the case of illegal commercial exploitation of the product, legal action can be undertaken.

Iñaki Casado Redin | Basque research
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