Irina Gorbunova, Cand. Sc. (Biol.), told about the development of mycobiology - science on mushrooms - in the Science in Siberia newspaper. Among its founders are N. Lavrov (Tomsk State University), K. Murashkinsky (Omsk Agricultural Institute). M. Nozdratenko, who started work in this sphere back in 1946 in the West-Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences (now RAS SB), also made a great contribution to these studies.
Laboratory of Lower Plants for studies of water plants, mushrooms, and lichens was created in 1961 in the Central Siberian Botanical Gardens (CSBG), Academy of Sciences of the USSR (now-RAS)*. It was headed by T. Popova from the Biological Institute; scientists A. Zhukov, T. Yenkina, and N. Perova became her assistants.
During the development of the laboratory the scientists actively studied fungal diseases of plants. M. Nozdratenko, mentioned above, detected about 420 varieties and forms of micro- and macromycetes parasitizing in forest plantations in the Novosibirsk and Kemerovo regions. During examinations of green plantations in different populated areas, he determined the composition of house microorganisms destroying the wood and thus causing appreciable damage to national economy.
His colleague A. Zhukov studied mycobacteria on conifers, in shrubs, and berry plantations a long time. He detected the characteristic features of pathogenesis of mycological diseases of other plants under local conditions. During this study he revealed 709 Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes**, three species of which were not found before.
T. Yenkina studied harmful microorganisms on herbs (including those on acknowledged medicinal plants and some of their species, used in popular medicine).
N. Perova specialized in agaricoid micromycetes. We mean here the prevalent nutritive types forming large visible bodies of different shape. Our favorite edible forest finds belong to them. More than 1300 species grow in Western Siberia - they can be found in southern taiga, forest-steppe, and the adjacent mountain territories. The laboratory of CSBG has a tremendous collection of macromycetes (more than 6500 specimens), which is supplemented every year. Creation of an electronic database for this collection is in progress.
Besides, Arctic-Alpine and desert-steppe relic specimens of Southern Siberian mycobiotes were found as a result of numerous expeditions to the forest, steppe, and highland regions. Some of them are rare species, strictly "bound" to the localities with specific phytocenosis. Many Siberian fungi, specifically Marasmiusiccus and Tubaria agrjcybeoides, Calvatia fragilis, and Disciseda, are widely spread and often abundant.
Among the interesting finds are American and Far-Eastern endemic species: colored boletinus and underdeveloped rhodophillus, as well as mushrooms confined to broad-leaved trees - luris boletus and amanita, the most poisonous mushroom.
* See: V. Sedelnikov, "Siberia's Plant Kingdom", Science in Russia, No. 3, 2006. - Ed.
** Basidiomycetes are a class of higher fungi with a special organ of multiplication-basidium, consisting of four unicellular spores. - Ed.
One of the important trends of the research in mycology is a search for disappearing mushrooms in connection with deteriorating ecological situation. Today 175 mushroom species are in need of protection, 80 of them in Siberia. The detected rare specimens are registered in the Red Data Book; these lists are regularly supplemented and made more precise.
Studies of the mushroom chemistry, bioindication potential, and medicinal properties, carried out at CSBG, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, supplement the data on edible mushrooms. Prospective reserves of edible mushrooms, forest types and periods of the most active fertility of these mushrooms are being studied. This information is a valuable contribution to the science on mushrooms, the "stocktaking" of which is not yet over.
I. Gorbunova, "Mushroom Kingdom of Siberia", Nauka v Sibiri (Science in Siberia), No. 28, 2006
Prepared by Yaroslav SIBIRTSEV
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