Ganodeima lucidum Wm Curtis Fries Karsten

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Introduction: A mushroom of many names, 3anodertna lucidum has been used medicinally by diverse peoples for The Japanese call this mushroom Reishi or Mannentake (10,000 Year Mushroom) whereas the Cliinese & Koreans know it as Ling Chi, Ling Chili, or Ling Zhi (Mushroom (Herb) of Immortality). Renowned for its health stimulating properties, this mushroom is more often depicted in ancient Chinese, Korean, & Japanese art than any other. I ing Ch' is traditionally associated with royalty, health & recuperation, longevity, sexual prowess, wisdom, and happiness Ling Chi has been depicted in royal tapestries, often portrayed with renowned sages of the era. For a t;me, the Chinese even be :eved this mushroom could bring the dead to life when a tincture specifically made from it was laid upon one's chest.

The use of Ganoderma lucidum spans more than two millen";a. The ear ' est mention of Ling Ctii was in the era of the first emperor of China, Shih-huang of the Ch'in Dynasty (221 207 B.C.). Henceforth, depictions oftb's fungus proliferated through Ch'.nese literature and art. In the time of the Han Dynasty (B.C. 206 - A.D. 220) wh:,e the imperial palace of Kan-ch'uan was being constructed, Ling Chi was found growing on timbers of the inner palace, producing nine "paired leaves". So strik< lg was this good omen, that henceforth emissaries were sent far and w;de in search of more collections of this unique fungus. Word of Ling Ch: tbus spread to Korea and Japan whereupon it was elevated to a status of near-reverence.

Tliis mushroom is known by many i North America and Europe as one of the "Artist's Conk" fungi. (The true Artist Conk is Ganoderma applanatum.) As the fruitbody

Figure 315. A Tibetan Ling Chi "Tree" statuette made of wood, from pre-1600 AD. revered and protected in the Lama Temple, Beijing
Figure 316. An exquisite antler specimen of Ling Chi featured in a Chinese mushroom museum.
Link Trainer Instrument Panel
' ;ure 31Ta lucidum (ATCC #52412) 4 and 10 days aftei inoculation onto malt extract agar The zonations are a strain-specific feature.

develops, the spore producing underlayer-the hymenium-.s white and can be fawn upon As the j ires are crushed, a br ling reaction occurs, thus allowing the artist to sketch an image

Common Names: Reishi (Japanese for Divine or S uitual Mushroom)

Ling Chi, Li Chih, Ling Zhi (Chinese for "Tree of L mushroc i) Mannentake (Japanese for "10,000 Year Mushroom". "Mushroom of

Immortality" Sai wai take (Japanese for Good-fortune Mushroom) Sarunouchitake (Japanese for "Monkey's Seat") The Danacea Polypore

Taxonomic Synonyms & Considerations: Ganodewia lucidum is the ype mush rooin the pivotal spe Sli the genus concept is centered. Ganoderma lucidum grow or ;aks, a d other So ds whereas two close relatives, G. tsugae and p. oregonense. g*)w primanly c conifers. G. «owsonhe x±s,asitsn e implies, while in the southwest of North mcathis speaes ha STi Whi i, A 'esc xcolor. In culture, G. lucidum and G. tsugae deve p long s ems me-sponsTto manipulation he uviro nent. G. oregonmst rtn be found on a variety of dead or mg conifers,in uding 'sugt owing how mutable the fomration of *es isun de, -ntcu" ditians and ha' Ga lerma lucidum readily fruits on a variety c. comf er and hardwood sawdust mixtures delineaion of these individuals based solely on habitat seems higlily suspect.

One historic and notable attempt to distinguish the North American from the Far Eastern taxa can be found in an article published by R. Imazeki (in Japanese) titled "Reishi and Ganodenna lucidum that grow in Europe and America: Their Differences*, 1937.

Currently, the best treatises discussing the taxonomy of these polypores are Gilbertson & Ryvarden's (1987) monograph, North American Polypores: Vol. I & II and Zhao's (1989) The Ganodermataceae in China. The spore size of G. lucidum is smaller than the inclusive range of 13-17 p in length by 7.5-10 pin width characteristic of G. oregonense and G. tsugae. Nevertheless, Gilbertson & Ryvarden did not consider this feature to be more significant than habitat when delineating these three taxa in their Key to Species. Placing emphasis on habitat may also be a dubious distinction when considering these species produce fruitbodies on non-native woods when cultivated. Features of higher taxonomic significance—such as interfertil. y studies and DNA fingerprinting—are needed to support accurate and defensible species delineation. For instance, interfertility studies with some collections reveal that G. curtisii (Berk.) Murr. may merely be a yellow form of G. lucidum common to the southeastern United States. (SeeAdaskaveg & Gilbertson (1986 &1987) and Hseu & Wang (1991)).

From a collector s point of view, G. oregonense is a much more massive mushroom than G. lucidum and is characterized by a thick pithy flesh in the cap. Also G. oregonense favors colder climates whereas G. lucidum is found is warmer regions. (G. lucidum has not been reported from the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions.) Gancderma curtisii, a species not recognized by Gilbertson & Ryvarden, but acknowledged by Zhao (1989) and Weber (1985) grows in eastern North America and is dis:inguished from others by the predominantly yellowish colored cap as it emerges These North American "Reishis"—Ganoderma lucidum._ G. curtisii, G. oregonense, and G. tsugae represent a constellation of closely related individuals, probably stemm-ng from a common ancestry. The argument for retaining them as separate species may be primarily ecological and host spec'fic and not biological. One of the few cultural distinctions described by Adaskaveg & Gilbertson (1986) is that G. lucidum produces chlamydospores in culture whereas G. tsugae does not.

In Asia, Ganoderma lucidum has a number of unique allies. Most notably, a black stalked Ganoderma species, also considered to be a Reishi, is called Ganoderma japonicum Teng (= Ganoderma sinense Zhao, Xu et Zhang colloquially known as Zi :hi.)

Figure 313. G. lucidum (Forintek's 34-D) 7 days after inoculation onto malt extract medium.

Description: Conk-like or kidney-like in shape, this woody textured mushroom. 5-20 cm. in diameter, has a shiny surface that appears lacquered when moist. The cap can be a dull red to reddish brown, and sometimes nearly black in color Featuring pores on its underside, whitish, browning when touched Areas of new growth whitish, darkening to yellow brown and eventually reddish brown at maturity, often with zonations of concentric growth patterns. Spores dispersed from the underside, collect on the surface of the cap giving Figure 319. Buried log cultivation of Ling Chi in the a powdery brown appearance when dry. China. Stem white to yellow, eventually darkening to , brown or black eccentrically or laterally attached to the cap, usually sinuous, and up to 10 cm. in length x.5-5.0 cm. thick.

Distribution- This mushroom is widely distributed throughout the world, from the Amazon throug) th • s a then' regions of North. America and across much of Asia. This mushroom is less frequently found in temperate than in the sub-tropical regions.

Mushroom Zonate

Natural Habitat: An annual mushroom, growing on a wide variety of woods, typically on dead or dying trees, primarily on deciduous woods, especially oak, maple, elm, willow, sweetgum, magnolia, locust, and in the Orient, on plums. Found on stumps, especially near the soil interface, and occasionally on soils arising from buned roots. Occurring from May through November, and more common in warm temperate regions. In the southeastern and southwestern United States, Ganoderma lucidum is frequently found in oak forests. In the northeastern states, this species it most common in maples groves. This mushroom often rots the roots of aging or diseased trees, causing them to fall. (This is one of the "white rot" fungi foresters know well.) From the darkened cavity of the upturned root wad, where carbon dioxide levels are naturally higher and light levels are low, long stalked mushrooms arise. These rare, multi-headed antler-like forms are highly valued inAsia. (See Figure 316.)

Microscopic Features: Spores reddish brown, ellipsoid with a blunted end. roughened as in warty, 912 x 5.5-8 p, two walled, with spaced, internal "inter-wall pillars". Cystidia absent. Clamp connections present, otherwise hyphae aseptate. Hyphal system dimi'ic. Chiamydospores forming in cultured mycelium

Available Sitrains: Yellow, red, purple, ind black strains are widely available from most culture libraries. New strains are easily cloned from the wild, best taken from young fruitbodies from the central flesh leading to the disc or alternatively from the edge of the developing cap margin, Because of their woody texture, a sturdy and razor-sharp surgical scalpel is recommended. Recovery or "leap-off' may take two weeks. Once in culture, many strains grow rapidly and fruit on sawdust substrates. Each tissue culturist should note that those strains isolated from conifers may actually be Ganoderma oregonense or Ganoderma tsugae. Forintek's 34-D produces a reddish brown fruitbody and is popular amongst North Amen: an cultivators American Type Culture Collection's #52412, which was used as the isotvpe for a taxonomic discussion by Wright & Bazzalo (Mycotaxon 16:293-295,1982) produces a multitude of rapidly grown antlers. (See Figure 323).

Each str-"h is ui ' que in: :s pattern of growth from agar media-to-giain-to-wood based substrates. A notable difference between strains is that one group, when over-incubated, makes grain spawn nearly impossible to loosen into individual kernels upon shaking. The other, smaller group of strains allows easy separation, even when over-incubated

MyceFal Characteristics: Longitudinally radial, non-aerial ini' ally white, rapid growing, becom ing densely matted & appressed, yellow to golden brown, and often zonate w:,h age. Some strains produce a brown hymenophore on MEA. A 1 cm. square inoculum colonizes a 100 x 15 mm. petri plate in 7-10 days at 75° F. (24° C.). Soon after a petri plate is colonized (2 weeks from inoculation),

Figure 321. Shaded log cultivation of Reishi in the United States (Louisiana*

the mycelium becomes difficult to cut and typically tears during transfer. Culture slants can be stored for periods of 5 years at 35° F. (1-2° C.).

Fragrance Signature: Musty, mealy, not sweet, not pleasant.

Natural Method of Cultivation: G. lucidum can be grown via a wiie variety of methods. In Ana and Japan, the traditional method is to inoculate logs and lay them on the ground or shallowly bury them. (See Figures 319-321). The logs are placed in a shady, naturally moist location. By covering hoop-frames with shade cloth, light exposure and evaporation is reduced creating an ambient environment conducive for fruitbody development. Typically six months to two years pass before substantial harvests begin, and continue for four to five years. (For more information, see Hengshan et al. (1991.))This method gives rise to natural-looking mushrooms.

Using Nature as an example this mushroom grows prolifically on stumps. Hardwood stumps can be inoculated using any of the various methods described in this book. Cultivators Living in high humidity climates with prolonged growing seasons (such as Louisiana and elsewhere in the humid southeastern United States) have success growing Ganoderma lucidum on hardwood logs laid directly onto the ground. Individual preferences vary amongst cultivators who, by nature, tend be a secretive or reluctant-to-communicate breed

A quasi-natural method is to inoculate short hardwood logs and place them into nurserv style pots. (See Figure 322.) The pots are then filled with hardwood sawdust and topped with soil. Large greenhouse! covered with dense shade-cloth, can house thousands of these individual containers that are simply laid out as a single layer over a gravel rock floor.

Figure 323-324. Antler formation of Ganoderma lucidum is controlled by the carbon dioxide of the prevailing environment. (ATCC# 52412)

Rapid Cycle System for Indoor Cultivation: A unique comt nation of variables can b& orchestrated to effect fruitbody formation. The indoor method I have developed calls for spawn inoculation onto a 50:50 (by volume) hardwood sawdust/wood chip mixture incubated in polyethylene space bags. For 3-4 days the hardwood (alder/oak) wood chips are soaked/fermented in molasses enriched water (50 ml. molasses/5 gallons water). After soaKing, the 17.50 x 8.25 x 475 in. bags are filled to 3 lbs. wet weight The bags are then sterilized for 2 hours at 15 psi. Upon coolujj) the bags are opened within a clean room. Grain or sawdust spawn is distributed equally into each bag. The bags are exposed to the airstream from a laminar flow bench, causing partial 'nflation. Directly thereafter, the bags are heat sealed. The bags appear domed or inflated. In effect, an idealized, positive pressurized, humidified environment is created. Slow gas exchange occurs through the semipermeable microporous filter media patch.

Colonization is usually complete in 14-21 days at 75° F. (24° C.). Thirty to forty days after inocula tion, the first mushrooms begin to emerge from the rough micro-topography of the sawdust/chip media. The emerging fruiting bo'i;es are whitish to golden yellow in color and apically triangular in shape. Growth is slow, yet noticeable from day to day. The tongue-like formations yellow with age, and becoming progressively more reddish brown towards the base. By day 50 they have often ach'f :ved 4 inches in length are branched, having arisen from multiple c';tes on the surface plane of the wood chip media. Frequently, these antJer-stalks seek out the filter patch and become attached to it. Once the des; ed height of stalk formation has been achieved, the environment must be altered so as to proceed to the final stage. If the cultivator does not expose these emerging antlers to near-natural atmospheric conditions, the opportunity for conk development will soon be lost.

For the pre\ lous two months, the entire growth cycle has occurred within the environment of the sealed plastic bag, wherein carbon dioxide and other gases exist in relatively high concentrations. A1 though the filter patch allows the slow < ffusion of gases, it acts as a barrier to free air exchange. Often the inte ior plenum has carbon dioxide levels exceeding 20,000 ppm or 2%. Once the bag' opened and a free rate of gas exchange preva;,s, carbon dio? ide levels drop to near normal levels of 350 ppm or .035%. T ¡is sudden change in carbon dioxide levels is a clear L.gnal to Ganoderma lucidum that

Figure 325. Some stra is will not torm » » " carbon dioxide is maintained at atmospheric levels White margin denotes new growth.

cjgure 326. When the plastic is removed, exposing the mycelium. G. lucidum will only form when a con densing fog environment is maintained for a prolonged period.

cap development can begin

In its natural habitat, this change is analogous to the stalk emerging from the -ich carbon dioxide environment below ground level. Once the CO sensitive stalk emerges ;nto the open air the photosensitive, spore producing lateral cap develops. The caps form above the plateau of the ground and orient towards directional fight. An indication of new growth is the depth and prominent appearance of a white band around the cap's edge. Under these conditions, cap formation is rapid and the time of harvest is ally indicated by the lack of new largm growth and the production of rusty brown spores. The spores, although released from be low, tend to accumulate on the upper plane of the cap-

The cultivator has two alternatives foi -licit ing conk development once antlers have begun t0bform The plastic bag can be left on or stripped away from the mass of mycelium) wood chips/sawdust. If the protective plastic is removed and a fog-like environment does not the characteristic horizontal kidney-shaped cap begins to differentiate. Like the stalk, the i a-gins of new growth are whitish while the age: areas take on a shiny burgundy brown appearance

Cultivators in Asia inoculate 1-2 liter cylindrical bags or bottles, narrowly clos zd at one end and stopped with a cotton plug. Once inoculated, the bags or bottles are stacked horizontally in a wall-like fashion After 30-60 days, depending upon the strain, inoculation rate, and growing conditions, the cotton filters are removed. The small opening channels C02 stimulating stem elongation. This same opening is also the only conduit for moisti re loss. F >m this portal, finger-like primordial shoots

Figure 325. Some stra is will not torm » » " carbon dioxide is maintained at atmospheric levels White margin denotes new growth.

cjgure 326. When the plastic is removed, exposing the mycelium. G. lucidum will only form when a con densing fog environment is maintained for a prolonged period.

Figures 327-328. In Asia, many cultivators fruit G. lucidum through the narrow opening of bags that once hosted the cotton filter plug. The plastic is left intact to help retain resident moisture.


Figures 329 & 330. Cylndrical bags are stacked upon one another to form a Reishi wall

gssBBgga Hi heftve that the substantia substrate mass, protected from evaporation, produces better flushes than fmm a substrate exposed to the open atmosp. ere With this second strategy, a Jondens ig fog envi-Z^ntmTJjK^n the subst, te full y exposed to the air. Furthermore, contamination ^«inTMlandaresuccessfuli growing G. lucidum in growing rooms fea tiirincr aravel floors and equipped with a minimum of environmental controls

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