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Suillus bovinus
Suillus bovinus photographed in its habitat by Laura Coninx, November 23, 2016 in Bilzen, Belgium.

Suillus bovinus

Suillus bovinus (L.) Roussel or cow bolete is a mutualistic ectomycorrhizal mushroom-forming fungus that exchanges soil mineral nutrients for photosynthates from its host. The species colonizes pine stands across Europe with a preference for acid sand-based soils (Lange 1974). Records from Asia are genetically distinguishable from European specimens using the ITS rRNA gene (Nguyen et al. 2016). It was introduced in North America, New Zealand and Australia most likely together with its host plant Pinus sylvestris (Lamb 1979). In South Africa the species is mainly found with P. radiata (Pearson, 1950). Suillus bovinus fruits extensively in young pine forests or disturbed areas. Fruiting decreases with forest age whereas genet size increases (Dahlberg & Stenlid 1990). Suillus bovinus sporocarps were found to accumulate mercury on contaminated soils (Saba et al. 2016). Zinc tolerant metal excluding isolates of the species were identified (Ruytinx et al. 2013) and protect their host tree from zinc toxicity (Adriaensen et al. 2006).

Suillus as a genus is one of the most common ectomycorrhizal symbionts of the pine family (Pinaceae) in the northern hemisphere. Commonly known as ‘Slippery Jacks’, the mushrooms of this genus provide food for both wildlife and humans. Suillus species have been used in forest restoration following natural and human-made disturbances, have potential for bioremediation (mycoremediation), and likely play an important role in facilitating soil carbon sequestration in mycorrhizal forests.

This genome is part of the Community Science Program (Proposal 502931) “A genome atlas of the ectomycorrhizal genus Suillus: Phylogenetic diversity and population genomics of a keystone guild of symbiotic forest fungi”, a collaborative effort aimed at using genomics data to understand and connect the evolutionary history, ecology, and genomic mechanisms of mutualistic ectomycorrhizal symbionts and their Pinaceae hosts. Please contact the PI for permission prior to the use of any data in publications.


Adriaensen K, Vangronsveld J, Colpaert JV (2006) Zinc tolerant Suillus bovinus improves growth of zinc exposed Pinus sylvestris seedlings. Mycorrhiza 16: 553-558.

Dahlberg A, Stenlid J (1990) Population structure and dynamics in Suillus bovinus as indicated by spatial distribution of fungal clones. New Phytologist 115: 487-493.

Lange L, 1974. The distribution of macromycetes in Europe. Dansk Botanisk Arkir 30:1-102.

Lamb RJ, 1979. Factors responsible for the distribution of mycorrhizal fungi of Pinus in eastern Australia. Australian Forest Research 9: 25-34.

Nguyen NH, Vellinga EC, Bruns TD, Kennedy PG. 2016. Phylogenetic assessment of global Suillus ITS sequences supports morphologically defined species and reveals synonymous and undescribed taxa. Mycologia. 108:1216–1228, doi:10.3852/16-106.

Pearson AA, 1950. Cape agarics and boleti. Transactions of the British Mycological Society 33:276-316.

Ruytinx J, Nguyen H, Van Hees M, et al. (2013) Zinc export results in adaptive zinc tolerance in the ectomycorrhizal basidiomycete Suillus bovinus. Metallomics 5: 1225-33.

Saba M, Falandysz J, Nnorom IC (2016). Mercury bioaccumulation by Suillus bovinus mushroom and probable dietary intake with the mushroom meal. Environmental Science and Pollution 23: 14549-59.

Genome Reference(s)