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Lightning Makes Mushrooms Multiply
nationalgeographic ^ | April 9, 2010 | Julian Ryall

Posted on 04/10/2010 4:18:23 PM PDT by JoeProBono

Lightning makes mushrooms more plentiful, according to ongoing research that offers a solid scientific basis for Japanese farming lore.

For generations, Japanese farmers have welcomed storms over their fields based on the belief that lightning strikes provoke plentiful harvests of mushrooms, which are staples of Japanese cuisine.

Currently, mushroom demand is so high that dealers are increasingly turning to foreign suppliers. Japan imports about 50,000 tons of mushrooms a year, mainly from China and South Korea.

As part of a four-year study, scientists in northern Japan have been bombarding a variety of mushrooms in lab-based garden plots with artificially induced lightning to see if electricity actually makes the fungi multiply.

The latest results show that lightning-strength jolts of electricity can more than double the yield of certain mushroom species compared with conventional cultivation methods.

"We have tried these experiments with ten types of mushroom so far and have found that it is effective in eight species," said Koichi Takaki, an associate professor in engineering at Iwate University.

"We saw the best effects in shiitake and nameko mushrooms, while we also tested reishi mushrooms, which are not edible but are used in certain types of traditional Chinese medicine," he said.


TOPICS: Food; Gardening; Science
KEYWORDS: fungi; fungusamongus; fungusfarming; japan; jpb; lightning; mushrooms; shiitake
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Shiitake mushrooms grow on a log exposed to lightning-like electricity.


1 posted on 04/10/2010 4:18:23 PM PDT by JoeProBono
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To: JoeProBono

What makes them do calculus?


2 posted on 04/10/2010 4:22:39 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

3 posted on 04/10/2010 4:28:38 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

I’ll stick with the morels thanks.


4 posted on 04/10/2010 4:31:08 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin! (look it up))
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To: cripplecreek

5 posted on 04/10/2010 4:32:17 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono
I’m gonna guess Washington, DC gets a lot of lightning.
6 posted on 04/10/2010 4:34:08 PM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
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To: JoeProBono

I don’t suppose this applies to the ordinary mushrooms that grow in caves.

I love ‘shrooms.


7 posted on 04/10/2010 4:36:00 PM PDT by fatnotlazy (Never forget!)
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To: JoeProBono

Lightening supplies the area around with Nitrogen which causes increased growth.


8 posted on 04/10/2010 4:36:30 PM PDT by Randy Larsen ( BTW, If I offend you! Please let me know, I may want to offend you again!(FR #1690))
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To: fatnotlazy

9 posted on 04/10/2010 4:38:11 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: Randy Larsen

Exactly what I thought when I read the title... Duh...


10 posted on 04/10/2010 4:38:20 PM PDT by El Laton Caliente (NRA Life Member & www.Gunsnet.net Moderator)
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To: JoeProBono
Some mushrooms will only colonize dead wood, others form a symbiotic relationship with tree roots. Lighting strikes may kill wood or roots, and disrupt cell walls of the wood. This would make it easier for dead wood mushrooms to colonize a dead tree. We cook food to break down cell walls and make nutrients more available. A lighting strike on a tree means colonizing mushrooms spend less time producing enzymes to break down cellulose, more time just harvesting the nutrients
11 posted on 04/10/2010 4:44:05 PM PDT by Pete from Shawnee Mission
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To: JoeProBono

Thanks. Nice pic. Man those mushrooms are big!


12 posted on 04/10/2010 4:45:57 PM PDT by fatnotlazy (Never forget!)
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To: JoeProBono
Grow my own


13 posted on 04/10/2010 5:12:29 PM PDT by Dan B Cooper
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To: JoeProBono

It would be interesting to go beyond the speculation and determine the mechanism that makes this happen.


14 posted on 04/10/2010 5:13:55 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: JoeProBono

Interesting article - thanks for posting it. I’m known around where we live as “the mushroom lady” because I have been known to ask people if I can pick the mushrooms growing in their yard. I always ask if I could bring them half of what I pick and they always always say “no”. Some even say “oh, no, I buy mine at the store.” Hiding my smile, I say thank you very much and go get my haul.

I pick them in yards, farm fields and deep woods whenever I get the chance.

We have chanterelles (5 kinds), morels, meadow mushrooms, horse mushrooms, salmon waxy caps, chicken mushrooms, king boletes and other edible boletes, puffballs, shaggy manes, oyster mushrooms, hen of the woods, blewits and more here some of which grow in great profusion. My favorites to eat are chanterelles, meadow, horse, puffballs and shaggy manes by themselves, in stews and in soups.

I love mushrooms and have learned enough not to kill myself or my family with them!


15 posted on 04/10/2010 5:16:22 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: Natural Born 54

16 posted on 04/10/2010 5:18:27 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

Wow, Wow, Wow!

Is that you?

I have actually gotten almost that many several times and it about killed me cleaning them (I refuse to eat bugs and slug poop!). I started cleaning them just as it got dark and I was up all night until I ran out of room to dry them. The rest were stored in our extra refrigerator until I had room to deal with them. The supply just from that day lasted all winter and into the next summer.

I do have driers with trays but I have found that when the mushrooms are really wet, either from the rain or my cleaning when they are extra dirty, even low heat will scorch them. I set the trays (light weight plastic) on empty tobacco canisters under ceiling fans. Before they really dry out, I lightly cook them in olive oil, let them cool and freeze them in portions suitable for various dishes with the olive oil. I did not like the result when I dried them - too chewy and tough. Freezing them fresh was not as good either. I can just grab a frozen bag and dump it in whatever I am cooking - very easy.

If that is you in the pic, what did you do with them all?


17 posted on 04/10/2010 5:32:50 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: Natural Born 54

LOL! I’m a little older and have more hair.


18 posted on 04/10/2010 5:34:41 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: JoeProBono

I love mushrooms. They contain Vitamin D and selenium and are loaded with antioxidants! I prefer them raw (more nutrients that way).


19 posted on 04/10/2010 5:35:57 PM PDT by StilettoRaksha
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To: Dan B Cooper

I’ve looked at various online places to buy the supplies to do this but have not tried it yet. I’m in Nova Scotia (American married to Canadian) so I’m sure not all the companies would send the stuff to me here. Do you use the company on the box and recommend it?


20 posted on 04/10/2010 5:38:52 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: JoeProBono

Where did you find this photo - I’m curious where it is? Giants!


21 posted on 04/10/2010 5:39:51 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: Natural Born 54
Truth be known, I sojourn to Kennett Square PA - the local "Mushroom Capital

Sept 11-12, 2010 25th Annual Mushroom Festival a fun packed, two-day event in historic Kennett Square, Pennsylvania on Saturday and Sunday, September 11-12, 2010. Celebrate the mushroom as well as the beauty, history and excitement of Southern Chester County with music, children’s rides and a variety of entertainment.

22 posted on 04/10/2010 5:47:09 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: Natural Born 54

I have a question maybe you could answer...I use to get giant puffballs growing in one spot on my property..One year, one got a large as a small kitchen table....

One year I put out a salt lick for the deer and of course during the winter snows and spring rains I am sure a lot of the salt went into the ground. Now I have no puffballs growing....is it possible that the salt lick killed the puffballs rooting system...

I haven’t had any for 5 years now....and only had put out one salt lick.....

just wondering if that could have been the reason they disappeared...every once in a while I will get a handful or morels in spring, but never in the same place twice...thanks..


23 posted on 04/10/2010 5:47:43 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: Natural Born 54

http://www.gardeners.com/White-Button-Mushroom-Kit/20677,33-619,default,cp.html


24 posted on 04/10/2010 5:51:53 PM PDT by Dan B Cooper
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To: Natural Born 54

http://www.gardeners.com/White-Button-Mushroom-Kit/20677,33-619,default,cp.html


25 posted on 04/10/2010 5:51:53 PM PDT by Dan B Cooper
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To: JoeProBono

Maybe its the Nitrogen that Lighting puts out.


26 posted on 04/10/2010 5:53:29 PM PDT by Diggity
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To: goat granny

27 posted on 04/10/2010 5:55:45 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

shroom ping


28 posted on 04/10/2010 6:01:21 PM PDT by txhurl (Can we trade Ron Paul for Ron White?)
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To: txhurl; All

Um...storms bring RAIN...and mushrooms are like 85.92% WATER...so that makes sense to me. :)


29 posted on 04/10/2010 6:13:12 PM PDT by Diana in Wisconsin (Save the Earth. It's the only planet with Chocolate.)
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To: Diana in Wisconsin

Well, lightning ‘fixes’ the nitrogen in the air that is otherwise unavailable to plants. That’s why everything is so much greener after a thunderstorm.


30 posted on 04/10/2010 6:16:24 PM PDT by txhurl (Can we trade Ron Paul for Ron White?)
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To: goat granny

What makes mushrooms grow in one place and not another is not even entirely understood by mycologists and I am not one. My reference library is pretty large, too, so I’ve done some reading on the subject. However, I would guess that the salt did cause the soil to stop being a welcome place for the puffballs.

I’ve noticed that chanterelles and boletes do tend to appear in the same place year to year - shaggy manes also. I think it may have more to do with the nutrients in the soil as apposed to any root system. The mushrooms that aren’t picked leave their spores in the same area where they grow and then grow from the spores taking root the next year or whatever year they appear again. Weather conditions also have an effect on it for sure.

There are some great references on mushrooms on the internet. Many are on university sites. But here is one that is really detailed:

http://www.mykoweb.com/

Wish I knew the answer to your question but I am just guessing. Maybe you can find a lead on the above site or by Scroogling it - something like “growing conditions mushrooms” might be a good start.

Hope your puffballs come back. They are to die for when picked all white on the interior, sliced and then browned in a skillet in butter. Yummee!


31 posted on 04/10/2010 6:56:40 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: Diggity

Good guess.


32 posted on 04/10/2010 6:57:32 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: JoeProBono

33 posted on 04/10/2010 7:02:04 PM PDT by stormer
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To: Natural Born 54
Hope your puffballs come back. They are to die for when picked all white on the interior, sliced and then browned in a skillet in butter. Yummee!

Once, on an academic retreat, I found a giant puffball about 9 or 10 inches in diameter. It was DELICIOUS.
34 posted on 04/10/2010 7:03:32 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: Dan B Cooper

Isn’t this from a Ray Bradbury story?


35 posted on 04/10/2010 7:05:34 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: Natural Born 54

Have you eaten elephant ear mushrooms? I found one, just one, when I was about 10, took it home, fried it in butter, and ate it. It was great. The only other mushrooms I saw back then in the countryside near Peoria were morels and hen of the woods.


36 posted on 04/10/2010 7:08:45 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan

Never had the pleasure. Looked it up and found this:
http://americanmushrooms.com/taxa/Gyromitra_brunnea_01.htm .

Ever find “dead man’s fingers”? Weird but no eat.


37 posted on 04/10/2010 8:22:30 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: aruanan

http://www.illinoismushrooms.com/Home.html

“A site for Illinois mushroom lovers”

(gotta be some compensation for being from Obamaland)


38 posted on 04/10/2010 8:24:52 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: Natural Born 54

I really wasn’t sure thats what they were at first...I took one to a local restaurant that had a chef that wore a real high cap, so I thought he might know something about them...Yep they were puffballs and he said as a child his mother would slice them like a pancake put in a frying pan and with a little syrup they were heavenly.. But because of government regulation wild mushrooms are not usable in any restaurant. The morels are pretty patchy when I do spot them...a couple of years ago while walking the property with my son we found 2 handfuls of morel. They haven’t grown there since...strange little fungi...He said they were delicious...


39 posted on 04/10/2010 8:33:22 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: goat granny

Morels - I think of them as brain mushrooms due to their appearance.

Some years here, one or two types of mushrooms are everywhere; the next year it is another type and then the next year zip, nothing. Last year was a nothing year here.


40 posted on 04/10/2010 8:51:03 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: Dan B Cooper

Thanks for the link, DB.


41 posted on 04/10/2010 8:52:48 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: Natural Born 54
Never had the pleasure. Looked it up and found this: http://americanmushrooms.com/taxa/Gyromitra_brunnea_01.htm .

Holy crap! That isn't what I ate!

I had something that looked like a shelf fungus but was not at all woody like those. It was soft and pliable, grew underneath a dead tree across the creek, had gills underneath, and was half moon in shape, grey in color. There were three of them together. The largest was about six inches by three inches. The outside curve came to a sharp edge.
42 posted on 04/10/2010 9:07:20 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: Natural Born 54
Ourside of puffballs and morels I don't know enough about them to pick any, I do know some poison toad stools can look just like some mushrooms...you got to be smart enough to know the difference or your dead...I'm not smart enough.

I think mushroom hunting is something of an art...

43 posted on 04/10/2010 9:16:43 PM PDT by goat granny
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To: goat granny
Ourside of puffballs and morels I don't know enough about them to pick any, I do know some poison toad stools can look just like some mushrooms...you got to be smart enough to know the difference or your dead...I'm not smart enough. I think mushroom hunting is something of an art...

There's a mushroom in Southeast Asia that looks exactly like one in North America. The only difference is that the ones in Asia are good eating and the ones in North America are deadly poisonous. Shortly after refugees from Southeast Asia arrived, there were a number of deaths from making the mistake of eating the North American version.

Giant puffballs are never poisonous. They can't be mistaken for anything else. However, Amanita muscara mushroom resemble small puffballs when they are first growing and are just as poisonous when they're small as when they're large. There is only one other mushroom that looks a little like a morel, but it's so disgusting that you'd never eat it.
44 posted on 04/10/2010 9:22:48 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan

Was the time of year Autumn? Do you remember whether the tree was a hardwood or softwood?

(When I first started looking for mushrooms, I found what my neighbor said was a giant rare form of chanterelle. We cooked it and both my husband and I each stabbed a fork into the frying pan and stuck a piece in our mouth. He spit his out immediately due to poor taste. I attempted to do the same but a small bit slipped down my throat. My throat began to get numb and feel like it was closing up. I ended up at the ER where I drank a pint of liquid charcoal. Turns out it was a Jack-O-Lantern mushroom which in rather small quantities will kill you. I was fine, though. Never asked an opinion again. Learned about mushrooms myself and only eat them when I am totally certain what they are.)


45 posted on 04/10/2010 9:27:27 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: aruanan

Look anything like this:

http://www.mushroomexpert.com/panellus_stipticus.html ?


46 posted on 04/10/2010 9:30:02 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: Natural Born 54
The panellus you referred to is not it. This was at least 5 or 6 inches in the longest dimension that grew up along the dead tree. It was a hardwood tree. There was no stalk and cap. There was just a place where it attached to the tree. It was very meaty and very nice.

Okay, I think this is it. Only it's not grey. Well, maybe my memory has faded to grey. Anyway, it's "the Oyster ( Pleurotus ostreatus) mushrooms, also known as Elephant Ears." They say that it can be found all year (well, probably not all year in Illinois...ha ha ha) but that the fall ones can get as large as a dinner plate. They can also have a varied appearance. On the same page they describe the hedgehog mushroom and say that it can't be mistaken for anything poisonous and is very delicious. Have you ever had one of these?


47 posted on 04/10/2010 9:49:42 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan

Oysters - yes. They are somewhat common so that makes sense. They are very good in soups which is how I tried them when I found a quantity of them. I can see how your memory would be of a light grey. I think I’ve seen that myself. Anyway, glad you solved that mystery.

I was off trying to sign up for photo bucket so I could post a couple of photos from my computer on here but I can’t get the sign up to work even though I allowed cookies from the site. This is the second time I’ve tried and I’m giving up. Can anybody recommend another photo site to use? I don’t want to use my own .com web site because then I’d be too easy to ID and I want to preserve the ability to say unflattering things about certain politicians like the stinker in the WH.


48 posted on 04/10/2010 10:10:44 PM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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To: Natural Born 54
I was off trying to sign up for photo bucket so I could post a couple of photos from my computer on here but I can’t get the sign up to work even though I allowed cookies from the site.

Have you tried www.imagechicken.com? That's what I use to post pictures like the one below ("Make a wish. I feel lucky!") They don't ask for any information at all. If you want to keep track of your upload, though, save the upload link page as a webarchive file.


49 posted on 04/10/2010 10:35:44 PM PDT by aruanan
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To: aruanan

Thanks. I’ll check it out.


50 posted on 04/11/2010 12:44:16 AM PDT by Natural Born 54 (FUBO x 10)
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