Mycena species A research and realitycheck



Introduction

On this webpage, we publish a summary of all the research and other things we have done with Mycena species, even if they did not lead directly to a work of art.

The genus Mycena is one of the most important contributors to bioluminescent agarics, (The genus Mycena s.l.) but within Europe no species are known to bioluminescence as fruitbodies or only with very low radiation. If there is bioluminescence mostly the mycelium is bioluminescent. See the list of bioluminescent mushrooms on Wikipedia.
M.haematopus is in Europe the only fungus of this genus that apparently shows bioluminescent fruitbodies, if only with very low radiation.
Since this fungus can be found here in our forests, we wanted to see the bioluminescence with our own eyes, or if there is only very little light at least to be able to find out, or to be able to prove it with measurements.

We are equally fascinated by the bioluminescence of Mycelium. Why is it luminescent? There are some explanations and research concerning fruitbodies, but mycelium?
Mycelium can be well cultivated and observed under laboratory conditions.

This website represents a collection of all bioluminescent Mycena mushrooms that we have found in Switzerland.





Mycena crocata

Characteristics: exudes a safran-red juice when cut.

As fare as we know the mycelium of M.crocata is not reported as bioluminescent.
But our cultures show bioluminescence.

M.crocata 8.10.2020
M.crocata 8.10.2020 M.crocata Albisrieden ZH 25.10.2020 M.crocata Albisrieden ZH 30.10.2020 M.crocata Dunkelhölzli ZH 11.10.2020 M.crocata Dunkelhölzli ZH 15.10.2021 Probably a M.crocata Albisrieden ZH 29.10.2021 Found in the wood of Zurich 19.9.2017 Is something luminescent? Some bioluminescent spots on M.crocata? (F3.2 / 15min / ISO 10000) Some bioluminescent spots on M.crocata?

Isolated wild M. crocata cultures (Clone cultures)
Cloning of M.crocata 28.11.2020 Cloning of M.crocata 28.11.2020 (F3.5 / 6min / ISO 8000) Clone culture 1.2.2020 Clone culture 1.2.2020 (F3.5 / 4min / ISO 8000) Pure culture (from clon culture) 12.1.2021 Pure culture (from clon culture) 12.1.2021 (F3.5 / 4min / ISO 8000)

Cultures from spores
M.crocata spores extraction 11.10.2021 M.crocata spores extraction 17.10.2021 Pure culture from spores (implemented the second time). Not luminous. 9.4.2021 Pure culture from spores (implemented the third time). 2.6.2021 Pure culture from spores (implemented the third time). 2.6.2021 (F3.2 / 2min / ISO 8000)


Mycena crocata Grain spawn


M. crocata grain spawn in the dark 2021-02-17 (F4 / 3min / ISO 8000)
For the grain spawn you can use: millet, rye, spelt, Wheat We used a mix of different grains Bring the grains to a boil for 5-10 minutes After draining, fill into sterilizable bags Sterilize the grain spawn in the pressure cooker for 60-75 minutes After cooling, inoculate the substrate with a myceliated agar. (Here inoculated with a M. crocata culture 2021-01-12 M. crocata grain spawn close up 2021-02-10 M. crocata grain spawn close up in the dark 2021-02-10 (F- / 5min / ISO 8000 M. crocata grain spawn 2021-02-17 M. crocata grain spawn in the dark 2021-02-17 (F4 / 3min / ISO 8000) Fruiting substrate: Wood-chips, sawdust, wheat bran, hemp sections, little flour, little gypsum, water Left overgrown M. crocata grain spawn. Right the fruiting substrate ready for inoculation. 2021-02-23 Inoculated fructuation substrate, detail. 2021-02-23

Grain spawn recipe:

- 500g spelt (or grain mix) Soaked in water for 12-24 hours
- Cook the grains for 10 minutes
- Drain the cooked grain
- (for wood-lovers) add 80g (10%) sawdust
- 6g gypsum
- 100ml - 200ml water
- Sterilise in a pressure cooker for 60 to 70 min.

When the grain spawn is well overgrown, the mycelium may become stunted in its growht.
Now it is ready for stage 3 and should be moved to a next substrate, the fruiting substrate.
Depending on the species being cultivated, this final substrate is composed differently. For example species that grow in nature on wood, they tend to prefer wood-based substrates, others need a different substrate composition.
As M. crocata grows naturally on decaying branches and trunks, we tried out a wood-based fruiting substrate to fruit mushrooms.
Unfortunately we have not yet succeeded in growing M. crocata fruiting bodies.

Recipe for fruiting substrate

Wood chips 16%
Wheat bran 8.5%
Sawdust 33%
Gypsum 1.3%
Water 41%

- The wood chips are completely covered with cold water and soaked overnight
- Let the wood chips drain for 15 minutes
- Fill all the ingredients into sterilizable bags and mix well
- Sterilise in a pressure cooker for 60 to 70 min.
- Let cool down
- Add to each substrate bag under the cleanest possible conditions (sterile) from the grain brood
- Store the inoculated substrate in a dark and clean place

- It could be beneficial to reshake the bag after 5–7 days
- After 2-3 weeks the substrate should have grown through with mycelium
- Ready for for the fruiting phase


In the amazing book RADICAL MYCOLOGY from Peter McCoy you will find exact details and procedures for grain spawn and other substrates. (The Website of RADICAL MYCOLOGY).
You can also find very good information for recipes in the publication Mind the Fungi from Art Laboratory Berlin.



Mycena galopus

Characteristics: exudes a milky white fluid when cut.

The mycelium of this genus is bioluminescent.

A M.galopus in the forest 25.10.2020
A M.galopus in the forest 25.10.2020 M.galopus 25.10.2020 Probably a M.galopus variety 30.10.2020 M.galopus 18.10.2020 M.galopus exudes a milky white fluid when cut 18.10.2020 M.galopus 06.11.2021 M.galopus 06.11.2021 M.galopus Uetliberg ZH 18.11.2021 M.galopus pure cultures 4.8.2017 M.galopus pure cultures at night 4.8.2017 (F2 / 15min / ISO 10000) Microscopy of a M.galopus culture Spore image from M.galopus 5.11.2020 Individual spores imaged with a fluorescence microscope 11.2.2021
Trying to grow M.galopus fruiting bodies in an erlenmeyer flask. 20.7.2017 Trying to grow M.galopus fruiting bodies in an erlenmeyer flask. The mycelium is bioluminescent. 14.8.2017 (F3.2 / 10min / ISO 10000) Canning jar with fruiting substrate and Mycena from a petri dish. 16.1.2021 Canning jar with fruiting substrate and Mycena from a petri dish. 16.1.2021 (F3.5 / 4min / ISO 8000)

An attempt to cultivate M.galopus fruiting bodies starting from pure cultures of mycelium

It would be very practical if it were possible to cultivate fruiting bodies from mycelial cultures. Then it would be easy to determine the species of fungus.
M. galopus grow on all kinds of forest litter from early summer to early winter.
Because it is not a wood fungus, we made a fruiting substrate consisting mainly of leaves.
Unfortunately we have not yet succeeded in growing M.galopus fruiting bodies.

Fruiting substrate for M. galopus

Leaves
Beechnuts
Hemp sections
Wheat bran
Flour 1 tablespoon
Glucose 1 tablespoon
Potato infusion water 41%


Mycena haematopus

Characteristics: exudes a dark red-brown fluid when cut.

Bioluminescence?
Are the basidiomes of M.haematopus really luminescent, as often mentioned?
In the publication LOW-LEVEL BIOLUMINESCENCE DETECTED IN MYCENA HAEMATOPUS BASIDIOCARPS from 1992 Mycena haematopus was reported as low level bioluminescent in the basidiocarps of M.haematopus. The specimens were collected and examined photometrically.
We think the emitted light is most likely at intensity not perceivable by human eyes. Perhaps it cannot even be made visible with long exposure photography.

M.haematopus Rotrist AG 4.10.2020
M.haematopus Rotrist AG 3.10.2020 M.haematopus Albisrieden ZH 25.10.2020 M.haematopus exudes a dark red-brown fluid when cut. M.haematopus Dunkelhölzli ZH 15.10.2021 Spore images of M.haematopus Measuring the light intensity Measurements with a luminometer. Our measuring of 304 is a very low value. Cloning of M.haematopus 31.10.2020 Clone culture 31.10.2020 (F3.2 / 4min / ISO 8000) M.haematopus fruiting substrate 2021.04.08 Glowing M.haematopus fruiting substrate 2021.04.08 (F4.5 / 3,5min / ISO 8000)

We tried to detect bioluminescence in three different M.haematopus mushrooms with long time exposure. But we could not detect the slightest light development, the photos always remained pitch black.
The mycelium of M. haematopus is well visible bioluminescent.



Mycena pura

Characteristics: A collybioid Mycena with a raphanoid smell.

The smell is quite intense and has something fresh and a hint of fruitiness. We liked it very much and had the idea to try to capture the smell. We managed pretty well to capture it in almond oil. The fruitiness and freshness has diminished somewhat, but is still present.

So far, we have failed to grow pure cultures of M.pura. A second attempt is needed.
The mycelium of this genus is reported bioluminescent.

Probably a M.pura Uetliberg ZH 11.10.2021
Probably a M.pura 7.11.2020 Photographing mushrooms 7.11.2020 Probably another M.pura 7.11.2020 We try to capture the smell of M.pura Spore image from a M.pura Probably a M.pura Uetliberg ZH 11.10.2021 Probably a M.pura Uetliberg ZH 13.10.2021


Mycena rosea

We succeeded in producing one pure culture. Unfortunately, the pure culture is not luminescent.
Actually, it should be, because the mycelium of M.rosea is considered luminezent. Perhaps we have misidentified the mushroom and it is not a M.rosea at all. Or it is due to the medium used.

M.rosea Uetliberg ZH 13.10.2021
Probably a M.rosea 5.11.2020 Cloning of the collected Mushroom (picture left) with two small pices. Not luminous. 22.1.2021 Pure culture (implemented the second time). Not luminous. 9.4.2021 M.rosea Uetliberg ZH 13.10.2021 A second M.rosea at Uetliberg ZH 13.10.2021



Mycena sanguinolenta

Characteristics: exudes a dark red-brown fluid when cut.

The mycelium of this genus is reported bioluminescent.



Mycena stylobates

A rather small Mycena springing from a prominent, basal disc with a ciliate margin.
The mycelium of this genus is reported bioluminescent.