Saturday, 2 May 2015


The collection of edible mushrooms in the mountain forests is only the first stage in the work of our mycologists.  Back at base camp their working day has still many hours to go.

A sample consists of several mushrooms originating from the same mycelium.  The sample is given a number, a description and photos taken in the field.  Afterwards, each sample undergoes various procedures with three end goals:

1. Spore print and inoculation

Spore print 
The cap (pileus) of the mushroom is placed on a holder to collect the spores.  In mycological terminology, this is called taking a spore print.  The following day the spores are harvested and seeded onto a Petri dish containing growth medium (agar).  After a few days incubation the mycelium in the Petri dish are sufficiently grown to be passed onto to Kigali farms to grow on.

2. Living stems and DNA samples


A fragment of stem (stipe) 2mm is placed in a test tube containing CTAB, a substance that blocks the degradation of DNA.  Once in Belgium, these samples are for the collections of the Botanic Garden, Meise, whilst the living stems go to the mushroom collection of the UCL (Catholic University of Louvain la Neuve, Belgium).  The latter receive fungal samples from all over the world.  These samples are mainly used for taxonomical research.

3. Collections of the Botanic Garden

DNA samples
The rest of the sample is dried and placed in a plastic bag and deposited by RDB.  A duplicate goes to the herbarium collection in the Botanic Garden, together with a description, the field photos and a sample of the spore print.  A microscopic examination is necessary to confirm the identity of a species.

A mission day starts at dawn but seldom ends before 7p.m.

Collections for the Botanic Garden

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