Alexander Tsarev
Mushroom industry

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Agaricus reproduction

Like all other mushrooms, Agaricus reproduces by spores. Spores form on basidium, which are offshoots located on the hymeneal gills under the cap. The name Agaricus Bisporus shows that two spores form in the basidium.

The cultivated mushroom Agaricus bitorquis has four spores on each basidium.
One mushroom produces millions of spores. Each spore is so small that it is impossible to see it with a naked eye. Spores can only be seen in a bunch. If you take the cap of a ripe mushrooms fruit body and put it underside down on a white paper, after a while, you can see a spore mark. The spores form a pattern that repeats the position of the gills. Spores contain little nutrients; therefore not many of them survive. This is why each mushroom produces a big amount of spores. Each spore that has survived in a suitable nutrient medium, puts a start to new mycelium.

Mushrooms also reproduce by vegetative means, that is, by the fission of spawn. Little pieces of mushroom tissue (the hypha or the caps skin) are place in a sterile nutrient medium, where the cells begin dividing quickly forming a thick mycelium. This type of reproduction is called tissular.

In mushroom industry, the germination of spores and spawn reproduction is held in special laboratories, where new high-yielding and disease resistant strains are developed. The preparation of sowing mycelium is process that requires great accuracy and the skill of experienced microbiologists. Spore germination is carried out in sterile conditions. The temperature is held at the level of 25C and the whole process is thoroughly controlled, in order to prevent the infection of mycelium by harmful organisms. The mycelium grown from the spores inoculates with the moist sterilized grain of wheat or rye. Only then, it is delivered to the mushroom growers in a special package.

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