The 2022 mushroom season is here! Yet again, I ask for your assistance in collecting lorchels and related mushrooms (Discina, Gyromitra, and Hydnotrya) to help determine the distribution, genetics, and evolution of gyromitrin. Gyromitrin is a mycotoxin produced most infamously by Gyromitra esculenta, a deadly poisonous mushroom that is consumed as a delicacy in Finland (after being properly prepared to remove most of the gyromitrin). We actually have no idea which genes make gyromitrin, how gyromitrin biosynthesis evolved in lorchels, or for that matter which species produce gyromitrin. I’m attempting to answer these questions for my PhD research! If you'd like to read more about the project, you can find a longer description in the research section of my website.
If you were able and willing, I’d greatly appreciate donations of any and all fungal specimens in the family Discinaceae (Gyromitra, Discina, and Hydnotrya). If you would like to donate any that you find for this project, a few things need to happen for the specimen to be usable:
For each specimen I receive I will attempt to sequence the ITS and LSU rDNA barcodes. I will share these data with you as well as my sequence-based identification. Some specimens may be selected for gyromitirn analysis, culturing, or whole genome sequencing.
Something important to note: your specimens are received as donations. Unfortunately I do not have access to fund to reimburse you for time or expenses related to your donation, including shipping costs, and the specimens cannot be returned to you. Rather, they will be accessioned at the University of Michigan fungarium for long-term safekeeping and storage. Make sure to make a “split” (keep a portion of the mushrooms for yourself) if you are interested in holding onto it for personal study. For this project I have been working with some fungarium specimens that are over 100 years old. Your donated specimens will live on as research subjects long in the future, perhaps for centuries to come.
Thank you for sharing your time, energy, and knowledge in the form of mushrooms donations. Your specimens have been invaluable so far and I am greatly appreciative of all your help!
The material on aldendirks.com is presented for general informational and educational purposes only, and under no circumstances is to be considered a substitute for identification of an actual biological specimen by a person qualified to make that judgment. Some fungi are poisonous; please be cautious. All images on this website are licensed under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).