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Biology | Fungi


Stephen Saupe


Mushrooms from the genus Marasmius have the ability to revive -- viz., dried specimens regain their original shape when moistened. The purpose of this study was to determine if the basidiocarps are metabolically active upon revival or whether they simply absorb moisture like a sponge. The reduction of tetrazolium chloride to a red, water-insoluble formazan pigment was used as a measure of respiratory activity. Basidiocarp samples were incubated in a phosphate buffer containing 1% tetrasolium chloride. After a suitable period, the samples were extracted with MeOH to remove any formazan pigment and the absorbance measured at 530 nm. Fresh M. oreades basidiocarps stained dark red in the tetrazolium solution. Dried/revived mushrooms also stained red demonstrating that they are capable of restoring metabolic activity after drying. Fresh mushrooms turned red more rapidly than those which had been previously dried. The degree of red coloration in revived specimens did not appear to be correlated with length of time in a dry state. The metabolic activity was killed by microwaving for four minutes.