William H. Hoffard – Entomologist, Asheville, N.C., Field Office,
Robert L. Anderson – Pathologist, Asheville, N.C., Field Office, and
William H. Sites – Pathologist, Asheville, N.C., Field Office.

USDA Forest Service, Southeastern Area, State and Private Forestry, 1720 Peachtree Road, N.W., Atlanta, Ga. 30309.

Fungal Fruiting Body Collection and Preservation

A disease specialist can best identify a fruiting body correctly, if you follow certain steps. When submitting the fleshy, mushroom type, collect fresh, mature and immature fruiting bodies, typical of those observed. Collect at least six representative samples. While fresh, make a spore-print (figure 10) from each sample. First, cut the mushroom cap from the stalk. Place the cap with gills or pores down on a clean piece of paper that is half white and half black and then cover it with an inverted glass jar (figure 11). Some experimentation may be necessary to determine when the print is definitive. Set up several caps on the paper sheets and remove them after varying periods. Allow the caps to air dry, then , fold papers so the sport-print does not rub off. Do not dry over heat.

Figure 10A

Figure 10B

Fleshy fungi shrivel and shrink upon drying -so they will not resemble their fresh condition. Before they dry make note of the basic shape, size, and color of all parts (e.g., cap, stalk, gills,) and include other information about the specimen and host.

Perennial conks are usually woody and require no particular handling for preservation. Fleshy fungi are quite another matter and must be given special care. Rapid drying until brittle in a drying chamber is necessary immediately after collection. Quick drying prevents other fungi, bacteria, and insects from destroying the specimen. The chamber can be made by placing a screen over two 100 watt bulbs. The screen and bulbs should be in a fire resistant box with an open top (figure 12).

Put dried fungal material in a paper bag for storage and shipment. Plastic bags will not permit residual moisture to escape. This moisture may permit the growth of destructive bacteria and saprophytic fungi. The following flow chart summarizes the procedures for preperation and shipment of fresh fruiting bodies:

Mushroom - Make spore-print - Dry - Paper Bag - Box - Ship

Figure 11

Figure 12

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