Studying Mushrooms > Using a Microscope

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Using a Microscope to Study Mushrooms

by Michael Kuo

On the one hand it is frustrating to discover, when trying to identify a mushroom you have found in the woods, that microscopic analysis is required in order to separate it from other mushrooms. On the other hand, microscope work can be fun and rewarding. Many of the techniques required are not that difficult to learn, and a decent used microscope can often be picked up for under $200. The best part is, if you are obsessed with mushrooms and live in an area where they do not come up year-round, you can spend quality time with your little friends in the off season.

Studying mushrooms with microscopy takes practice, but new frontiers open up at each level. Beginners will find that simply looking at a mushroom's spores is fascinating, and helps substantially in the identification process. More advanced microscope skills lead not only to facilitated identification but, sometimes, to stunning views and gorgeous microstructures (would you believe Pluteus cervinus is beautiful?).

The pages linked above are designed to help you enter the world of mycological microscopy, but they certainly don't tell you "Everything You Need to Know." Additional sources are listed below.


References


Hesler, L. R. and Smith, A. H. (1963). North American Species of Hygrophorus. Knoxville: U Tennessee P. 416 pp.

Largent, D. L., Johnson, D. & Watling, R. (1973). How to identify mushrooms to genus III: Microscopic features. Eureka, CA: Mad River Press. 148 pp.

Molecular Expressions. (2005). Optical microscopy primer. Retrieved February 23, 2006 from the Florida State University Web site: http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/index.html

Moss, M. O. (2000). Setting up the microscope, part 1. Field Mycology 1: 128-130. Available online here.

Moss, M. O. (2003). Setting up the microscope, part 2. Field Mycology 4: 88-90. Available online here.

Smith, A. H., Smith, H. V. & Weber, N. S. (1979). How to know the gilled mushrooms. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown. 334 pp.

Smith, A. H., Smith, H. V. & Weber, N. S. (1981). How to know the non-gilled mushrooms. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown. 324 pp.

Smith, A. H. & Thiers, H. D. (1971). The boletes of Michigan. Ann Arbor: U Michigan P. 428 pp. Available online here.

Strout, G. (2005). World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Microscopy. Retrieved February 23, 2006 from the Oklahoma University Web site: http://www.ou.edu/research/electron/www-vl/



Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2006, February). Using a microscope to study mushrooms. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/microscope.html


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