Saprobic Fungi

Saprobic fungi are known as fungi that colonize rotting wood and dead organic matter found in the soil. Several species cannot be seen with the naked eye and are microfungi; several are edible macrofungi that breed on fallen logs and bracket fungi that grow from dead or dying parts of still standing trees. Two examples of the saprobic fungi species are the Phallus ravenelii and the Agaricus xanthodermus

The volume and value of saprobic species are used as foods are small by the comparison with the symbiotic edible fungi, though more edible saprobic species are collected. Their overall value is much higher because they are widely cultivated: a figure of US$18 billion was quoted for the annual, global trade in cultivated, saprobic species. Saprobic macrofungi are also highly valued for their medicinal properties. Most are cultivated, though the Ganoderma spp. are also collected from the wild. The list of symbiotic macrofungi with medicinal properties is a short one, though there is some indication that they have been studied less because they cannot be cultivated.

In addition, saprobic species need a constant supply of suitable organic matter to sustain production in the wild and this can be the limiting factor in their production.


Examples of saprobes

The ‘blue toadstool’ (Entoloma hochstetteri), widespread in New Zealand’s native forests

A tiny, undescribed Lachnum species, about 2 mm across, growing on dead fronds of wheki.


The basket fungus is a stink horn (Ileodictyon cibarium), producing spores in a foul-smelling slime, attracting beetles and flies to distribute its spores


~ by mb0804myco on July 29, 2008.

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