What are mushrooms? Thuis zelf champignons en paddenstoelen kweken, paddestoel thuiskweekset, grow mushrooms, Champignons anbauen, cultiver de champignons

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What are mushrooms?

A mushroom is a fungus.

A mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) is one of the many species of fungi. Some 3,000 different species of fungi can be found in Western Europe, approximately 50 of which are fit for human consumption. Of the edible fungi, the mushroom is by far the most familiar one.

Fungi are classified as moulds. A fungus is actually the visible fruit body of a mould and as such only a small part of that mould. The mould fungus, or mycelium, grows under the ground, invisible to the naked eye. This is a tight network of fine threads, which with some species can even extend across a surface area of several hectares.

Clearly, a fungus is not a plant, because plants contain chlorophyll and with the aid of sunlight can store energy in the form of carbohydrates. The plant uses these carbohydrates for its growth. Fungi do not contain chlorophyll and therefore are unable to produce their own carbohydrates. They depend on the organic matter of dead or living organisms for their energy supply, from which they can extract their nutrients (carbohydrates). Since the mould in turn provides nutrients for the plants, balance is restored to the food chain.

Moulds can be subdivided into three groups:

  1. Saprophytes, to which the mushroom also belongs, live on decaying plant matter and dead wood. They break it down until carbon dioxide and minerals remain. They are an essential link in the food chain because they convert the organic matter from decomposed or diseased organisms into inorganic substances. In doing so, they provide the necessary nutrients for green plants.  
  2. Parasites acquire their nutrients from a more extensive supply, and usually live at the expense of other organisms. That can be plants, animals, or even other moulds. They grow on live wood and infect it so that it ultimately decays and is then used by the Saprophytes.  
  3. Mycorrhizae live for mutual benefit in symbiosis with the roots of live trees and plants. The tree gains an even broader root system from which the fungus can extract carbohydrates that it is unable to form itself. Contrary to the parasites, Mycorrhizae therefore reciprocate to benefit the host. The bay boletes, chantharelles, and truffles belong to this group.

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What are mushrooms? Thuis zelf champignons en paddenstoelen kweken, paddestoel thuiskweekset, grow mushrooms, Champignons anbauen, cultiver de champignons