New mushroom species found in Singapore

05-Oct-2018 Intellasia | Straits Times | 6:00 AM Print This Post

It belongs to porcini mushroom family and was first found in Botanic Gardens by its staff

A mushroom completely new to science has been discovered in Singapore, and it belongs to the same family as the delicious porcini mushroom. Spongispora temasekensis

was first discovered by staff at the Singapore Botanic Gardens in 2014 under a Hopea odorataor ironwoodtree.

Researchers noticed immediately that it was a bolete mushroom, recognisable by its porous unclercap. But they spotted something different about it when they looked at it under the microscope.

“The spores were amazing and it was like no bolete mushroom spore ever recorded in (scientific) literature,” said Ms Serena Lee) senior manager at the Gardens’ herbarium, research and conservation department.

She described the spores ovalshaped, with a spong like surface that looks warty under a microscope. The scientific name of the mushroom comes from this observation, with Spongispora referring to the spongy look of the spore walls. Temasekensis refers to Singapore, where the mushroom was found.

Ms Lee co-wrote the paper on its discovery, published last month in the journal Mycologia. She said of the find: “All life forms add to the wonderful biodeversity that is in Singapore. It shows that even in a small country like ours, right under our noses, new genera can be found.

“In general, mushrooms play an ecologically critical part in our ecosystems as they help to decompose dead organic matter, re leasing nutrients and making them available for other organisms, like plants, to use”

She added: “They are interconnected in the web of life like any other organism.” As for the taste? Ms Lee said: “Although this species has not been fully tested for its edibility, we presume based on preliminary sampling that it is likely to be edible as it has a bland taste when raw.”

However, she warned against eating it because it has not been fully tested. Marketing manager Ace Le, 32, is a self-described mycophileone who enjoys searching for mushroomswho has spent years learning about the mushrooms here.

He said: “This find is exciting because the mushroom is a bolete, which is not common in this country. This is reassuring to us amateur mushroom hunters because we always had a hunch that Singapore is home to a lot of unknown species) but don’t have the expertise or tools to confirm this.”

“The mycological landscape of Singapore is very unique yet understudied, so new discoveries will hopefully lead to greater awareness among the public.”


Category: Singapore

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