Library Subscription: Guest
Begell Digital Portal Begell Digital Library eBooks Journals References & Proceedings Research Collections
International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
IF: 1.423 5-Year IF: 1.525 SJR: 0.431 SNIP: 0.661 CiteScore™: 1.38

ISSN Print: 1521-9437
ISSN Online: 1940-4344

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v3.i4.50
5 pages

Mushrooms: The Extent of the Unexplored Potential

David L. Hawksworth
Departamiento de Biologia Vegetal II, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad Cornplutense, Plaza de Ranion e Cajal, Ciudad Universitaria; MycoNova, The Yellow House, Madrid, Spain; Permanent address: MycoNova, 114 Finchley Lane, Hendon, London NW4 1DG, UK

ABSTRACT

Recent estimates of the number of fungi on Earth range from 500K to 9.9 million species, of which 74−120K are named. A working figure of 1.5 million species is generally accepted, and new data suggests that is not unreasonable. Mushrooms, the definition of which is discussed, constitute at least 14K and perhaps as many as 22K known species. Most new mushrooms are being discovered in the tropics, especially those forming ectomycorrhizas with native trees. In various tropical areas, 22−55 (−73)% of mushroom species have proved to be undescribed. However, collections made over periods of a few years or less underestimate the species actually present. Further, many morphologically defined mushroom "species" prove to be assemblages of many biological species; the existence of cryptic species means that the number of known species may be an underestimate by a factor of at least five. The number of mushrooms on Earth is estimated at 140K, suggesting that only 10% are yet known. This figure was calculated by extrapolation of the proportion of mushrooms in the known fungi (18.75%) to the overall 1.5 million species estimate, with reductions to allow for the extent of novelty actually being found and a conservative allowance for numbers of cryptic species. The implications of this finding for the medicinal and nutritional exploitation of mushrooms are considered.


Articles with similar content:

Biodiversity and Ecology of the Medicinal Mushrooms of Armenia
International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Vol.4, 2002, issue 1
Siranush G. Nanagulyan, Alina L. Sirunyan, Eva Kh. Hovhannisyan
Runoff of the Total Suspended Phosphorus from the Dnieper-Bug Mouth Area into the Black Sea
Hydrobiological Journal, Vol.37, 2001, issue 2
A. A. Morozova, L. A. Zhuravleva
Ethnomycology and Usage of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms Among the Igbo People of Nigeria
International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Vol.5, 2003, issue 3
Emmanuel Oluwadare Akpaja, John Aroye Okhuoya, Omoanghe S. Isikhuemhen
Algal Flora of Reservoirs of Iran
International Journal on Algae, Vol.16, 2014, issue 2
Behrouz Zarei Darki
Ethnomycology and Indigenous Uses of Mushrooms Among the Bini-Speaking People of Nigeria: A Case Study of Aihuobabekun Community Near Benin City, Nigeria
International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Vol.7, 2005, issue 3
Benedicta Akpos Ehwerheferere, Emmanuel Oluwadare Akpaja, John Aroye Okhuoya