Picture of Comparison of Spore Lengths in Crimini and White Button Mushrooms

The spore lengths of two commercial edible mushroom strains, white button and crimini, were compared. Since these strains are of the same species (Agaricus bisporus) their spore lengths were expected to be similar. However, the crimini spores were longer and more variable in length that those of the white button mushroom. Although commercial Agaricus mushrooms are the same species, different strains have different inherited characteristics. Spore length (as well as other spore parameters such as width, length-to-width ratio and volume) could be used to assist in identifying specific strains of commercial mushrooms.

Some people like mushrooms (mycophiles) and some hate them (mycophobes). Plenty of people like them though and mushroom growing is big business. They are generally pretty good for you too.

The most popular mushroom is still the standard white button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) although others such as shiitake, oyster, and a few others, have been gaining on them in recent years. What about portabello and crimini? Crimini is a just a fancy name given to browner varieties of the white button mushroom and portabellos are simply Agaricus mushrooms allowed to grow much larger instead of harvesting them at the button stage. They are both the same species as the white button mushroom! Like other agricultural products, mushroom varieties (strains) have been developed to make them more interesting and to meet demand for novelty and variety.

This experiment had two goals. One was to see if there was a morphological difference in the spores of locally available crimini and white button mushrooms. In doing so, it also provided an opportunity to test an Exolabs digital camera system to see if it was suitable for analytical microscopy of this sort.

Null hypothesis: There is no difference in the average length of the crimini and white button mushroom spores.

tony.scott1 year ago

Very cool, I'll never eat another mushroom without wondering if their spore length is similar or different.

wilgubeast1 year ago

Awesome. Love how you made do with low-resolution equipment. That should be inspiring for the many citizen scientists on Instructables. Thanks for sharing!

ndpmcintosh (author)  wilgubeast1 year ago

Thanks. I plan to test the camera on a much better microscope sometime in the next few days.