In Japan, the hon-shimeji mushroom is a delicacy costing up to SEK 8,000 a kilo (800 Euro). Now a student at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, has discovered that this tasty fungus also grows wild in Sweden.
"There will undoubtedly be a lot of interest in Sweden, and definitely in Japan once these discoveries become known there," says Henrik Sundberg, who conducted the study.
Lyophyllum is a family of many different species of fungi. One of them is Lyophyllum shimeji, previously believed to grow only in the Far East. In Japan, the hon-shimeji or "true shimeji" is a delicacy, and so rare that a kilo of Japanese mushrooms of perfect quality can fetch as much as SEK 8,000 (800 Euro). Then, two years ago, came indications that the species also grows in Sweden.
"We were visited by a Japanese mycologist who found a fungus on a pine heath outside Skellefte which she thought was similar to hon-shimeji," says Henrik Sundberg, a student at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg. "Using molecular techniques, we've now been able to show that this northern Swedish fungus is identical to the Japanese one."
Not the first fungal discovery
This is not the first time that a Japanese gourmet mushroom has been found in northern Scandinavia. Just over a decade ago, researchers were able to show that the Swedish mushroom Tricholoma nauseosum was identical to the Japanese species Tricholoma matsutake. Interest in the Swedish matsutake has been huge, and Japanese mycologists and traders have made their way to the country's northern forests to study the fungus.
Molecular examination gave the answer
It was also the Swedish matsutake that led Japanese mycologist Etsuko Harada to the forest outside Skellefte where she found the Swedish hon-shimeji in August 2008.
"After getting a positive response from Japanese mycologists, we be
|Contact: Henrik Sundberg|
University of Gothenburg