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Fungal Spores: Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes

Fungal spores are microscopic biological particles that allow fungi to be reproduced, serving a similar purpose to that of seeds in the plant world. In the kingdom fungi, Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes are two major phyla. Ascomycetes fungi produce a sac-shaped cell, bearing eight haploid spores called ascospores during sexual reproduction. This structure is known as ascus (plural: asci). Basidiomycetes produce a club-shaped cell which bears four protruded haploid spores called basidiospores during sexual reproduction. It is known as basidium (plural: basidia).

Ascus

With asci cells, spores are produced internally, and in the basidia they are produced externally. Both ascus and basidium are microscopic structures. Spores are released when either the tip of the asci breaks off or the spores break off from the basidia.

Fungal Spores
Basidium

The majority of edible fungi belong to the Phylum Basidiomycota. Spores are single cells, each capable of developing into a mushroom. After the spores are released, they are carried by the wind, and it is possible for them to land far from the parent mushroom. After the spores are released, the cap or fruiting part of the mushroom dies. For a spore to survive and grow into a new mushroom, it must land in an environment that is appropriate for mushroom cultivation. The soil should be damp and moist. Mushrooms thrive in areas that are grassy and wooded. After landing in such an environment, the spore will grow hair-like filaments that are called hypha. From the hyphae, the mushroom’s mycelium will grow. This is the part of the mushroom that grows below the soil. From the mycelium a stalk or stem will grow, and atop the stem will grow the fruiting cap. When the hypha of one spore meets with the hypha from another spore, a mating or germination process begins that results in the production of more spores.

When we grow mushroom in home, we can see and collect mushroom spores. They usually appear as a dusty space beneath the mushroom caps. Some people with allergies or compromised immune systems may want to consider putting fruiting mushroom outdoors or in a well-ventilated area as airborne spores sometimes cause respiratory irritation. spores may also cause irritation for some non-allergic or immune compromised mushroom growers, though this is rare.

Fungal Spores
KIng oyster mushroom spores

we should harvest mushrooms before the caps flatten out and become concave. Harvesting mushrooms while still in their younger growth stages will reduce the overall spore load as well as the quality of mushroom is the best. The warmer the environment the faster mushrooms will grow. Some edible mushrooms should be ready to harvest 5-10 days after pin formation.

Fungal Spores
Collected spores

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