Tricholoma matsutake can absorb and accumulate trace elements directly from rock fragments in the shiro.

PMID 25355073


Tricholoma matsutake, a highly valued delicacy in Japan and East Asia, is an ectomycorrhizal fungus typically found in a complex soil community of mycorrhizae, soil microbes, and host-tree roots referred to as the shiro in Japan. A curious characteristic of the shiro is an assortment of small rock fragments that have been implicated as a direct source of minerals and trace elements for the fungus. In this study, we measured the mineral content of 14 samples of shiro soil containing live matsutake mycelium and the extent to which the fungus can absorb minerals directly from the rock fragments. X-ray powder diffraction identified major phases of quartz, microcline, orthoclase, and albite in all shiro samples. PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) fingerprinting and direct sequencing confirmed the presence of T. matsutake on 32 of 33 rock fragments. Piloderma sp. co-occurred on 40% of fragments and was positively correlated with locations known to produce good mushroom crops. The ability of T. matsutake to absorb trace elements directly from rock fragments was examined in vitro on nutrient-agar plates supplemented with rock fragments from the shiro. In comparison to the mineral content of tissues grown on control media, the concentration of Al, Cu, Fe, Mn, P, and Zn increased from 1.1 to 106.4 times for both T. matsutake and Piloderma sp. Mineral content of dried sporocarps sampled from the study site partially reflected the results of the in vitro study. We discuss the implications of our results with respect to the natural development and artificial culture of this important fungus.