Companion culture?

Richard Winder rwinder at PFC.Forestry.CA
Tue Feb 7 17:30:20 EST 1995

In article <3h6jc6$mbh at>, 
mzieg1234 at (MZieg1234) writes:
>Mushroom cultivators are supposed to be secretive about successes but I
>would like to report something interesting. About a month ago I wrote about the
>possibility of combining two different mushroom types in the same bag and
>called it "companion culture." The idea was that the combination of an
>easy fruiter and difficult fruiter would be -well- fruitful.  The presence of
>competition or transfer of chemical/physical factors might induce
>primordia in the recalcitrant species. Nobody responded and I have not seen anything
>in the literature but it seemed a reasonable hypothesis. I have had no luck
>with Grifola frondosa in the past- an occasional aborted primordia. In tests
>this month once again control bags showed no primordia but in 50%(believe me
>this is gigantic improvement) of the bags with two species have nicely
>developing Grifola fruitbodies! Curiously the second species is not producing
>fruitbodies?  I am a scientist and know that many more tests need to be
>done and it all could be coincidence. I am currently repeating the tests and
>perhaps the results will be different. I am truly hesitant to even send
>this note because of my academic upbringing but wouldn't mind if somebody tried
>repeating this on a small scale if they have the time or inclination. It
>could be of some importance economically for growing both Grifola and even
>other species. Some of you full timers must have tried this?  I can't
>quite bring myself to say what the other species are just yet but two worked and
>I have a feeling it is not too critical.  <:) Mike Ziegler

    I imagine Paul Stamets will have something to say about this.  It is
 pretty well known that bacteria, when introduced at the proper time, can help
 promote fruiting body development of cultivated mushrooms.  The fungal
 yeast Rhodotorula glutinus has been used to trigger basidiospore
 germination for various mushrooms.  Bacteria have been implicated as
 symbionts with Chantrelles.  There are people I know who hope, some day,
 to study the whole succession of fungi that attack tree stumps, and how they
 interact with each other.  So your findings aren't out of line- there are 
 probably all kinds of interactions going on.  Many multiple-fungus cultures 
 exhibit various degrees of antagonism- and competitive stress
 leading to the formation of sclerotia or fruiting bodies is one of the
 effects.  In producing morel primordia on agar plates, I have noticed
 that contamination by the fungus Fusarium, if it occurs at such a point
 that the whole culture is not swamped with contamination, seems to
 enhance the development of larger sclerotia and primordia.  I know you were 
 hoping for mushrooms for both fungi, but I think its great you've got at 
 least one of them going.

  RICHARD WINDER                    Title: Research Scientist
  Canadian Forest Service           Phone: (604) 363-0773
  Victoria, B.C.                    Internet: RWINDER at A1.PFC.Forestry.CA

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