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Lactarius controversus
Lactarius controversus by Brian P. Looney

In the “1KFG: Deep Sequencing of Ecologically-relevant Dikarya” project (CSP1974), we aim to sequence additional sampling of genomic diversity within keystone lineages of plant-interacting fungi and saprophytic fungi that are of special ecological importance for understanding terrestrial ecosystems. In addition, comparative genome analysis with saprotrophic, mycorrhizal and pathogenic fungi will provide new insights into the specific and conserved adaptations associated with each fungal lifestyle.

Lactarius controversus Pers.

Lactarius controversus is a widely distributed species of milk mushroom, reported from across North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is characterized by small spores, white matted-fibrillose to glabrous pileus that is typically stained pinkish to lavender or brownish, and white latex that slowly becomes strongly acrid (Hesler and Smith 1979). This species is restricted to ectomycorrhizal hosts in the Salicaceae or Betulaceae and represents a core member of the Populus ectomycorrhizal community (Baum & Makeschin 2000; Cripps 2001; Jakucs 2002; Heijden & Kuyper 2003). In clonal poplar plantations, this species only fruited under natural conditions and not in response to mineralized nitrogen fertilizer treatments (Baum & Makeschin 2000). Willow trees inoculated with L. controversus showed less nitrogen content in their shoot tissues than with other native ectomycorrhizal associates (Heijden & Kuyper 2003). Mushrooms of L. controversus are frequently eaten in eastern Europe and are considered a delicacy among the Ukrainian (Carpatho-Rusyn) minority in Romania due to their strongly spicy taste (Luczaj et al. 2015). Like many species of Lactarius, these mushrooms have been shown to have high antioxidant content and produce novel sesquiterpenoid compounds (Daniewski et al. 1984; Ozen et al. 20016). The genome of Lactarius controversus will be an important tool for understanding community assembly and function of the Populus root microbiome.

Researchers who wish to publish analyses using data from unpublished CSP genomes are respectfully required to contact the PI (Francis Martin) and JGI to avoid potential conflicts on data use and coordinate other publications with the CSP master paper(s).


Baum, C. and Makeschin, F., 2000. Effects of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilization on mycorrhizal formation of two poplar clones (Populus trichocarpa and P. tremula x tremuloides). Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science, 163(5), pp.491-497.

Cripps, C.L., 2001. Mycorrhizal fungi of aspen forests: natural occurrence and potential applications. In Sustaining Aspen in Western Landscapes: Symposium (p. 285).

Daniewski, W.M., Kroszczyński, W., Wawrzuń, A. and Rymkiewicz, A., 1984. Constituents of higher fungi. Part XVI. Identification of Lactarius species by HPLC using sesquiterpene monohydroxylactone contents as characteristic chemotaxonomic features. Journal of liquid chromatography, 7(14), pp.2915-2920.

Heijden, E.V.D. and Kuyper, T.W., 2003. Ecological strategies of ectomycorrhizal fungi of Salix repens: root manipulation versus root replacement. Oikos, 103(3), pp.668-680.

Hesler, L.R. and Smith, A.H., 1979. North American species of Lactarius. University of Michigan Press.

Jakucs, E., 2002. Ectomycorrhizae of Populus alba L. in south Hungary. PHYTON-HORN-, 42(2), pp.199-210.

Luczaj, L., Stawarczyk, K., Kosiek, T., Pietras, M. and Kujawa, A., 2015. Wild food plants and fungi used by Ukrainians in the western part of the Maramures region in Romania. Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae, 84(3).

Ozen, T., Darcan, C., Kaygusuz, Ö. and Turkekul, İ., 2016. The Chemical Content, Antioxidant and Antimicrobial Assays of Lactarius controversus and Lactarius musteus: Two Edible Wild Mushrooms from Giresun Province of Turkey. Annals of Food Processing and Preservation.