Volume 12 Part 1 Article 18: Breeding Experiments with Coprinus comatus

Volume 12 Part 1 Article 18
Year 1989
Title: Breeding Experiments with Coprinus comatus
Authors: P.C.C. Van Loon and G. Fritsche


A considerable number of experiments carried out during the past 10 to 15 years, eventually led to the successful cultivation of the shaggy cap, Coprinus comatus (Vaandrager 1978; Lelley 1983; Balazs & Kovacsne 1985). Relatively little breeding work, intended to iirprove yield and shelf-life, has been done however (Brian et al. 1981). Some genetic experiments were carried out by Thomas (1982), to support further breeding work, Lelley (1983) carried out selections from several wild strains, but the yield was not higher than of a conmercially available siirain. He did, hcwever, observe differences in shelflife between the strains used. Kovacsne (1986) found no differences in yield or time of fruiting between various strains.

Production of C. comatus is of potential ccrmercial value. It is a very tasty muslirociti, is easy to grow and yields are high. A big disadvantage, however, is the rapid autolysis of the cap. This is a normal feature of the genus Coprinus, caused by the production of enzymes such as B-(l-3)glucanase, chitinase and protease (Bush 1974). The goal of the present study was to improve the shelf-life and yield through breeding. To itiprove shelf-life there are two options. One is to induce mutations and look for strains which do not exhibit autolysis (Takemaru & Kamada 1972). The other option is to inprove shelf-life gradually through crossing and selection. We chose for the latter, estimating to be less risky and sooner giving positive results.

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