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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
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ISSN Druckformat: 1521-9437
ISSN Online: 1940-4344

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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v8.i3.80
pages 263-278

Morphology, Growth Characteristics, and Genetic Variability of the Edible Medicinal Mushroom Flammulina velutipes (W. Curt.: Fr.) Singer Collections

Susanna M. Badalyan
Laboratory of Fungal Biology and Biotechnology Yerevan State University, 1 Aleg Manoogian St. Yerevan, 375025 Armenia
Karen W. Hughes
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
Carmen Z. Sakeyan
Laboratory of Fungal Biology and Biotechnology, Yerevan State University, Dept. of Botany, 1 Aleg Manoogian St., 375025, Yerevan, Armenia
Elizabeth Helmbrecht
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA


Mycelial micro- and macromorphology and growth characteristics, laccase activity tests, pigmentation, teleomorph formation, and genetic variability of 31 collections of the edible medicinal mushroom Flammulina velutipes have been investigated. The strains were isolated from fruiting bodies collected in different geographical regions and wood substrates. Two morphological types (A, B) and three subtypes (A1, A2, A-B) of mycelial colonies with different growth parameters were described in F. velutipes collections on different agar media. Correlations between morphological types and growth characteristics of colonies with substrate nature and geographical origination of strains have been revealed. However, in order to evaluate species-specific media responses for the described mycelial morphotypes, further research with more strains is required. Mycelial macromorphology and growth parameters were more variable than the described microstructures (form, shape of clamp cells and crystals, asexual spores). Significant correlation between the mycelial morphotypes and genetic variability of screened F. velutipes strains has not been revealed. Genes for morphological and cultural variability may be unlinked to genes for the nuclear ribosomal repeat. Collections of putative F. velutipes were confirmed by rDNA-ITS sequencing to be F. velutipes with the exception of four collections as follows: SB71 (Armenia) is a hybrid or unknown biotype; collections SBIV-1 (Armenia) and SB317 (Germany) are identified as F. elastica; and R12 (Russia) as F. rossica. High genetic diversity was observed in Armenian collections of F. velutipes when compared to collections from Eurasia. At least 16 haplotypes were recovered in Armenian collections. This sequence diversity may be a consequence of the survival of an ancient genetic variation in the Caucasus and Armenia during the glaciation period, while in Europe, the genetic variation was extirpated. A subset of Armenian genetic diversity of F. velutipes is found in Europe. Morphological and growth characteristics of mycelium will assist in further biotechnological cultivation of F. velutipes. High genetic variability of Armenian collections may be used for improvement of strains to obtain novel biotech products and health-enhancing functional food additives from this valuable medicinal mushroom.

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