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CMS ENews is published monthly by the Cascade Mycological Society (CMS) from September thru May.  CMS is located in Eugene, Oregon. If you have questions, comments, or contributions for the CMS Enews, email us at newsletter@cascademyco.org. Also feel free to share the CMS Enews.
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The CMS monthly meeting scheduled for March 18, 2020 has been cancelled. The CMS Board of Directors will continue to monitor the changing COVID-19 situation and hope to resume meetings in April or perhaps May.

In the meantime … even if there are not many mushrooms out there, taking a walk in the woods will do wonders to improve your outlook and calm any anxiety over this current situation. So, we encourage you to grab a (healthy) friend or family member and head outdoors!  

All future CMS meetings will begin at 7:15 PM rather than 7:00 PM (Amazon Community Center request). They also ask that we do not disturb the group that occupies the room prior to our meeting. 

Recruiting CMS Board Members

We specifically need a volunteer to serve as Treasurer. Our current Treasurer, Pavel Gubanikhin, will be glad to teach you all of the "ropes", and will remain available to assist you when needed.

So, how do CMS meetings, forays, culinary events,  and educational activities get planned? The majority of them are organized by the CMS Board of Directors. The CMS Board meets the first Thursday of each month (year-round except for July) from 7 to 9 pm, in a Board Members home.  We discuss upcoming activities, vote on expenditures, and make assignments on action items so that tasks will get accomplished. Being on the CMS Board does take some time, but we also like to have fun while we are getting things done. If you have ever thought about getting more involved in CMS and are willing to consider joining the CMS Board, please send an email to president@cascademyco.org.  You are welcome to attend Board Meetings for several months before you decide to "make it official". Our next election of Board Members will be online and at our annual Morel Grill-Out in May.

March 26th is Fantastic Fungi Day!

The film Fantastic Fungi is now available to rent or buy as a digital download.  You may also purchase the book at 35% off from now through March 26th at the Fantastic Fungi website. The movie is still playing at the Broadway Metro. The Broadway Metro will also be participating in Fantastic Fungi day with a special showing that includes a livestream Q&A with  mycologist Paul Stamets and director Louie Schwartzberg after the screening. More info here

If you are "hunkered down" at home, you may pre-register for the live Q&A with Paul and Louie on March 26th here.

Fungi in the News

(AKA, a roundup of recent CMS Facebook posts)

Boost your Immune System with Medicinal mushrooms (during the Covid-19 pandemic) - Ron had already chosen what to write about this month when this article popped up in my daily Google search alert. Very timely, and very well written.  Read more at Medium@BrandonQuittem 

Beauty Knowhow: The mushroom is having a moment - it really is a magic ingredient - It’s time, says Alexia Inge, founder of Cult Beauty, ‘to put the fun into fungi.’ Because in terms of beauty ingredients, right now it’s all about the mushroom. The Snow Mushroom targets inflammation and redness and packs a punch with hydration as it can hold up to five times more moisture than hyaluronic acid. Read more at The Daily Mail

A four-tiered model for crowdsourcing fungal biodiversity citizen science - Our challenge is how to marshal the great passion for mushrooms evident in the public to do legitimate science that contributes basic knowledge needed to understand the roles of fungi in ecosystems and in the health of the people and other organisms who inhabit Planet Earth. This four-tiered model may help. Read more at Deep Funga Blog

Fungi That 'Eat' Radiation Are Growing on the Walls of Chernobyl's Ruined Nuclear Reactor - In the eerie environment inside the abandoned Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, researchers remotely piloting robots spotted pitch black fungi growing on the walls of the decimated No. 4 nuclear reactor and even apparently breaking down radioactive graphite from the core itself. What's more, the fungi seemed to be growing towards sources of radiation, as if the microbes were attracted to them! Read more at Real Clear Science

New Test Identifies Poisonous Mushrooms - "This test can provide more information about a wild mushroom beyond physical appearance and characteristics, and detect something we cannot even see—the presence of amanitins," said Bever. If an affordable product like this was available, foraging could become even more popular and possibly safer. Read more at Agriculture Research Service


Mushroom foraging connects people to nature, but officials hope to stem treasure hunts -  Dave Mason, spokesperson for the East Bay Regional Park district, said restrictions against mushroom picking are mainly in place for safety reasons, as Northern California is home to two of the world’s most deadliest mushrooms: the Western Destroying Angel and the Death Cap. Parks also wish to preserve and protect the plant life as much as possible. Read more at The Sacramento Bee

My PCR journey: how NAMP turned me into a kitchen scientist - When I signed up to co-lead the New York Mycological Society’s interactions with the North American Mycoflora Project (NAMP) I didn’t quite realize what I had signed up for. Because two years later here I am, with my own lab, doing polymerase chain reactions in my spare time, building phylogenetic trees and submitting sequences to Genbank like it’s no big deal. How did this arts major with zero knowledge of biochemistry get there? Read more at Deep Funga Blog

Mycorrhizas for a changing world: Sustainability, conservation, and society - Mycorrhizas have great potential for future exploitation and management to facilitate a variety of sustainability programs in agriculture, conservation, and restoration, considerations that are particularly relevant during this time of global change and widespread depletion of natural resources. Read more at The New Phytologist Trust

Benefits of Bio-Based Building Materials - Finding ways to develop environmentally-friendly and bio-based building materials is an important, though underappreciated, aspect of sustainable building. One biotech startup is experimenting with using orange peels, mushrooms, and other natural materials to create carbon-neutral building materials. Read more at Build with Rise

Santa Cruz has decriminalized magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, and peyote - Santa Cruz recently became the third city in the United States to decriminalize natural psychedelics, such as magic mushrooms, ayahuasca and peyote. LSD and MDMA are off limits.  Read more at KRCW News

How Mycelium Made and Remuse are growing a sustainable fashion future -  Held at Melbourne’s Abbotsford Convent, Mico brought together designers, filmmakers, dancers, artists and stylists for an event designed to once again highlight the future of sustainable fashion design. And, once again, mushrooms were front and centre. Read more at Fashion Journal

Mushrooms and Your Health

By Ron Patton

Recently there has been a plethora of products on the market touting the amazing health benefits of mushrooms and extracts made from them. In the class Sandy and I give on mushroom basics we include a slide on the health benefits of eating mushrooms. We felt it was important to let people know they were safe and healthy to eat, especially since the previous slide we show is how some mushrooms can kill you. While I can neither verify not contradict many of the medicinal claims that are being made about mushrooms, there are some basic truths. First, there is a clear distinction between what we call health benefits from eating mushrooms and claims regarding medicinal benefits.
 
The health benefits from eating mushrooms essentially relate to their nutritional properties in terms of vitamins, minerals, and other healthful compounds they contain. It is estimated that mushrooms generally contain over 17 vitamins and minerals in addition to other compounds like Polysaccharides, which are long chains of carbohydrate molecules with amazing health benefits. There are many studies suggesting that eating mushrooms aid with cardiovascular support, immune system support, reducing inflammation, and aid in fighting cancer. The degree to which these valuable nutrients exist varies between mushrooms species yet all have great nutritional properties.
 
On the other hand, I have been bewildered by the number of products flooding the market espousing amazing healing properties or just using mushrooms to add value to their product. The picture to the left represents a few of the many products offering extracts of the medicinal mushroom known as Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum). The same can be said about Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), Maitake (Grifola frondosa), Shiitake (Lentinula edodes), Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor), Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), and Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis). Medicinal uses of mushrooms is nothing new since evidence shows the Chinese have been using mushrooms this way for thousands of years. Also, some mushrooms like Reishi, and Turkey Tail are far too tough for culinary use so other means of ingestion are necessary. Sandy and I occasionally harvest Turkey Tails, dry them, grind them up and use the powder for making tea. Given all the amazing compounds contained in mushrooms the mass availability of extracts is not surprising; however, caution is always advised and not all products will have equal benefits. How key compounds are extracted from mushroom sources is an important topic. A study conducted by a University in China in 2014 using different mushroom species and varied extraction methods concluded the following; “The antioxidant activity determination indicated that water extracts and hot water extracts had much higher antioxidant properties than acetone extracts and ethanol extracts. The TPC (Total Phenolic Content) of the samples extracted with water and hot water were also much higher than those extracted with acetone and ethanol.” Additionally, while there is evidence that mushrooms can aid in maintaining a healthy immune system they have not show to be the panacea of all ailments some are espousing.
 
If popping a pill is not your preferred method of getting your mushroom nutrition you’re in luck. How about mushroom chocolate? I’m not talking about your basic mars bar or almond mounds bar, these are dried mushrooms added to chocolate bars with quite an array of species choices. Or, if you want to make    your own bar at home you can buy a readymade blend of four ground up mushrooms and follow the recipe link under references at the end of this article. Still not happy? I think what you’re really looking forward to is that first cup of mushroom coffee or hot cacao to get your day off to a great start. And, if you’re a teetotaler we have exactly what you have been looking for. Nothing goes better with a big chunk of fungi chocolate than a nice hot cup of Reishi tea. In all honesty, while Sandy and I have not tried the mushroom chocolate, we would if it wasn’t sugar sweetened. On the other hand, we have tried several brands of mushroom tea and quite enjoyed them.
 
And, if you’re still not satisfied I have no doubt you will come across many other innovative and perhaps slightly strange products infused with one or several mushrooms. Oh yes, while I have not inserted a photo of it, there already is a mushroom bacon on the market. We have not tried it since we like to make our own bacon version. We use thin slices of Lobster mushroom covered with mesquite seasoning and garlic powder, then gently fried to a crispy bacon texture.
 
Before I end this all things mushroom article I want to discuss one more very important nutritional aspect of eating mushrooms. One of the most important substances contained in mushrooms are amino acids. Meat, fish, and plants all contain amino acids in the form of large, complex molecules which we all know as proteins. These proteins can be made up of thousands of amino acids attached to each other in long chains. For our bodies to take advantage of these amino acids they must first be separated out from the proteins that contain them. Unfortunately, not all food sources contain the complete array of amino acids our bodies need, although this can be easily compensated for by pairing different combinations of food types. Well, where do mushrooms place in the availability of amino acids? I’m glad you asked.
 
During the International Conference on Agricultural Sciences held in 2019, research results were presented under the heading “Comparison between protein and amino acids of mushroom Agarieus bisporus (our common grocery button mushroom) with some kinds of meat and meat’s products.”  The study found that the percentage of protein in the mushroom was higher than all kinds of meat except sheep's meat and also higher than other products such as eggs, cow's milk and white, soft cheese made from cow's milk and sheep's milk, but it was less than the percentage of protein in the cheese made from sheep's milk, which contained the highest percentage of protein. The table above summarizes these results

Additionally, mushrooms tested have shown to contain as many as 17 different amino acids included the 9 essential ones our bodies cannot create. As with other nutritional substances found in mushrooms, the amount of each amino acid will vary between mushroom species. That being said, the results of this study are just another reason why mushrooms make a great addition to our diet and to our health.
 
I may be jumping the gun on this last innovation but new research is showing that mushrooms can also be used as organic substitutes for synthetic nose plugs. How many times have you been out at your local pool or favorite swimming hole and thought how great it would be to have a fully natural way to stop water from creeping up your nose. Now with all natural and most importantly sustainable mushroom nose plugs you can have your wish. They plan to have them in different sizes and colors and are working with purely edible species so after that swim they can still be sautéed in your favorite mushroom dish. The first products may still be a few years away from hitting your store shelves but stay tuned.
 
As always, stay safe and stay healthy, Ron
 
References;
Mushroom health benefits – Medicinal News Today
Mushroom Nutrients – Times Magazine
Study of Mushroom Extraction Methods - Austin Publishing Group
Chinese  Medicine -MycoSan
Mushroom chocolate bar recipe – Four Sigmatic
Amino Acids Defined – National Library of Medicine
Mushroom protein vs. Meat – protein - Research Gate
Turkey Tail Mushrooms, Identification and Use - Practical Self Reliance

Below are upcoming mushroom events in the PNW, not sponsored by CMS.
Some require registration or advance planning (travel from Eugene).

As of the publishing date of this CMS Enews all of these events were open for registration; that may change. Use your own best judgement as to whether you should attend an event in the coming weeks/month.

Various dates (Portland area) - If you live in the Portland area  Wildcraft Studio School offers several single day (10am to 3pm) mushroom forays, all are $120. More info here.

April 11, 2020 (Oxbow Regional Park, near Troutdale) - Mushroom discovery hike - Discover the fascinating and weird world of mushrooms!  Learn about the ecological roles of fungi, their forms, and how they eat and reproduce. Enjoy hands-on exercises and learn how to identify mushrooms. Field guides will be provided. More info here ($6-$11).

April 19, 2020 (Smith & Bybee Wetlands, Portland) - Mushroom discovery hike - Same description as above. More info here ($6-$11).

April 21-23, 2020 (Siskiyou Field Institute in Selma, OR) Intermediate Lichens: Bryoria, Melanelia and Peltigera, taught by Daphne Stone - We’ll expand our knowledge of three challenging lichen groups: Peltigera, Melanelia and Bryoria  in the classroom, under the microscope and in the field. More info here ($203-$225).

April 25-26, 2020 (2 day Mushroom Cultivation Class, Portland) - This novel two-day series combines an entry-level introduction in mycology and an intermediate deeper dive on day two. More info here ($125-$200).

May 9, 2020 (Illinois Valley in Southern Oregon, Siskiyou Field Institute) Spring Mushroom Foray in the Illinois Valley - taught by CMS Member Mike Potts. Fee includes a classroom intro. and a foray. This class fills fast, more info here ($63-$70).

June 14 2020, (Eugene Textile Center) - Dying with Mushrooms - Come explore mushroom dyes with mycologist and dyer Cheshire Mayrsohn. We will extract color from several common, local dye mushrooms. You will take home a spectrum of yarn samples, literature to carry on your own experiments, and two mushroom dyed silk scarves. More info here ($80).

May 16, 2020 (Northwest Nature Shop, Ashland) Guided Spring Mushroom Walk - Spend the day searching for wild fungi with local mushroom expert and CMS Member Mike Potts. More info here ($35).

May 17-19, 2020 (Westfir, OR) - Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Ecology and Cultivation Workshop by Fungi for the People. Regenerative farmers, soil conservationists, and restoration ecologists will benefit most from the techniques taught in this course, as you will be able to assess population health, plant symbiosis rates, and be able to further increase or introduce arbuscular mycorrhiza populations through cultivation techniques. More info here ($375).

June 29-Jul 4, 2020 (Westfir, OR) - MycoRemediation Design Course by Fungi for the People - Learn the practices and theories of working with Mushrooms and other Fungi to heal toxic soils, filter water, restore ecosystems, and empower communities. More info here ($750).

October 18, 2020 (Ashland, offered by the Siskiyou Field Institute) - Edible Mushrooms of the Southern Cascades - taught by CMS Member Mike Potts. Fee includes a classroom intro. and a foray. This class fills fast, more info here  ($63-$70). 

October 19-25, 2020 (Port Townsend, WA) - The 2020 International Fungi & Fibre Symposium - An early notice for this one since I do not know how often it is held in the USA, or how fast it fills up - Registration is now open. More info here ($1100-$1450).

November 14, 2020 (Siskiyou Field Institute in Selma OR) Edible mushrooms of the Siskiyous - taught by CMS Member Mike Potts. Fee includes a classroom intro. and a foray. This class fills fast, more info here ($63-$70).

November 20-22, 2020 (Siskiyou Field Institute in Selma OR) Exploring the world of Fungi. Taught by Scott Loring. Come search for and learn to identify edible, poisonous, and other mushrooms above the ground and truffles below in a variety of Siskiyou locations in Josephine and Del Norte counties. An emphasis will be placed on truffles.  Time will be split between field and classroom/lab activities.     More info here ($157-$175).

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