Pleurotus pulmonarius: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Pleurotus pulmonarius Mushroom
Pleurotus pulmonarius is an edible mushroom very similar to Pleurotus ostreatus, the pearl oyster, but with a few noticeable differences.
The caps of pulmonarius are much paler and smaller than ostreatus and develops more of a stem. Also this mushroom prefers warmer weather than ostreatus and will appear later in the summer. Otherwise, the taste and cultivation of the two species are generally described as largely the same.
Other names: Indian Oyster, Italian Oyster, Phoenix Mushroom, or the Lung Oyster
Pleurotus pulmonarius Cultivation
Substrates for Fruiting
Broadly adaptive, producing mushrooms on a great array of organic debris. The substrate materials proven to result in the greatest yields are the cereal (wheat, rice) straws, hardwood sawdusts, corn stalks, sugar cane bagasse, coffee waste, pulp mill sludge, cotton waste, and numerous other agricultural and forest waste by-products. Royse & Bahler found that the addition of 20% alfalfa hay to wheat straw increased yields substantially. In their studies, yields peeked when a combination of wheat straw, alfalfa, and delayed-release nutrients were employed.
Any compost maker knows, is considered "hot" because of its elevated, nitrogen component. Although yields can be boosted by adding these nitrogenous supplements, the cultivator must balance whether or not this advantage is offset by the likely increase in contamination rates. (As a rule, the likelihood of a competitor molds increases directly as nitrogen levels are elevated.)
Biological efficiency 100-200%, greatly affected by the size of the fruit body at the time of harvest and whether of not a fourth or fifth flush is achieved.
Incubation Temperature: 75-85°F (24-29*C)
Relative Humidity: 90-100%
Duration: 8-14 days
CO2: >5000 ppm
Fresh Air Exchanges: 1 per hour
Light Requirements: n/a
Initiation Temperature: 50-75° (80°) F (10-24° (27°) C)
Relative Humidity: 95-100%
Duration: 3-5 days
CO2: 400-800 ppm
Fresh Air Exchanges: 5-7 per hour
Light Requirements: 1000-1500 lux
Temperature: 60-80* F (18-27°C)
Relative Humidity: 85-90% (95%)
Duration: 3-5 days
CO2: 400-800 ppm
Fresh Air Exchanges: 5-7 per hour
Light Requirements: 1000-1500 lux
Cropping Cycle: Every 7-10 days, for 3 flushes.
This species complex hosts an enormous number of strains. The most popular are the warm weather varieties currently being marketed by spawn manufacturers, often under the name "Pleurotus sajor-caju". This mushroom is more widely cultivated than any other Oyster mushroom in North America and Europe.
Tolerant of high temperatures, renowned for its speed to fruiting and yield efficiencies, many cultivators are initially attracted to this mushroom. However, compared to the many other Oyster-like mushrooms, some hesitate to call it a "gourmet" mushroom.
Although high yielding, some do not hold it in high regard for numerous reasons, such as its:
Continued growth after harvest.
Lack of cluster-bouquet formation.
Quickness to spoil.
Production of high spore loads.
Attractiveness to fungus flies.
Pleurotus pulmonarius Identification
Saprobic; growing in shelf-like clusters on dead and living wood of hardwoods; causing a white rot; late spring through September; widely distributed in North America. The illustrated and described collections are from Illinois, Missouri, and Kentucky.
3–10 cm across; convex, becoming flat or somewhat depressed; lung-shaped (hence its Latin name) to fan-shaped or semicircular in outline—or nearly circular if growing on the tops of logs; somewhat greasy when young and fresh; fairly bald; whitish to beige or pale tan, usually without dark brown colorations; fading as it dries out, often resulting in a two-toned appearance; the margin inrolled when young, later wavy and sometimes very finely lined.
Running down the stem; close or nearly distant; short-gills frequent; whitish; sometimes discoloring yellowish with age.
Sometimes absent or rudimentary, but often present; 1–4 cm long and 0.5–1 cm thick; eccentric or lateral—or central; whitish; bald; basal mycelium white.
Flesh: Thick; white; unchanging when sliced.
Odor and Taste: Odor distinctive but hard to describe ("like oyster mushrooms" works well, but makes for a circular description); taste mild.
Spore Print: Whitish, grayish, or lilac.
Pleurotus pulmonarius Health Benefits
- Liver cancer
Natural bioactive compounds from mushrooms and their use in conventional chemotherapy is a growing field in cancer treatment. Isolation of a polysaccharide-protein complexes from Pleurotus pulmonarius using hot-water extraction was performed and the effects in cancerous liver cells observed. The results showed that exposure of liver cancer cells to Pleurotus pulmonarius both significantly reduced cancer cell proliferation in vitro and invasion, but it was also able to improve the drug-sensitivity of the cells to the chemotherapeutic drug Cisplatin. In a mouse model, oral administration (200mg/kg) showed inhibition of cancer cell growth .
Worldwide, leukaemia is one of the major causes of cancer-related death and is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow. Using a leukaemia-induced rat model metabolites from extracts of Pleurotus pulmonarius were shown to increase the haemoglobin concentration and number of erythrocytes (red blood cells), this is important in combating anaemia, a symptom of leukaemia.
Leukocytosis (increase in white blood cells) also occurs in leukaemia but in these rats, it was prevented or restored when the Pleurotus pulmonarius metabolites were administered before, during or after exposure to the leukaemia-inducing agents. They also reported on the immunomodulatory effects of Pleurotus pulmonarius with its ability to increase the total leukocyte counts (including non-cancerous) – the highest counts observed were when the highest dose was administered at 80 mg/ml.
- Colon cancer
Extracts of Pleurotus pulmonarius, from either mycelium grown in liquid culture or the fruiting bodies, was applied to several lines of colon cancer cells in vitro. The study showed that both types of extracts may contribute to the anti-proliferative effect (growth) that was seen; this effect was identified in colon cancer cells expressing high levels of galectin-3 and this led to the down-regulation of the ability to adhere to other cells – important for the progression of, and metastasis of cancer cells .
Hypertension, also referred to as high blood pressure, is a leading cause of death. Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) is a natural biological molecule that leads to constriction of the arteries. The pharmaceutical industry has developed drugs that inhibit ACE, and they are used as a treatment for hypertension. Pleurotus pulmonarius mycelium protein extracts have been explored in vitro for their use as an ACE inhibitor. Using Pleurotus pulmonarius mycelial water extracts, three proteins were identified as having ACE inhibitory effects. This provides the platform for further research and therapeutic developments using Phoenix Mushroom extracts and their biologically active components to treat hypertension.
Everyday processes in the human body produce free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS) capable of oxidizing biological molecules such as including lipids, proteins and DNA. They play a critical role in disease development (e.g. arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, cancer, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease). Natural anti-oxidants are important to modify these effects and methanol extract of the fruiting bodies of Pleurotus pulmonarius have been shown to have antioxidant effects. There was a dose-dependent increase in the ability of Pleurotus pulmonarius to fight against free radicals and lipid peroxidation. The optimal concentration was observed at 2mg/ml. The most potent antioxidant activity of Pleurotus pulmonarius was against scavenging for ROS (hydrogen peroxide).
In vitro application of methanol-induced extraction of the fruiting bodies of Pleurotus pulmonarius to RAW cells showed a significant reduction in nitric oxide (NO) produced by the induction of an inflammatory response. RAW cells are used as they are the precursor to cells in our immune system that are responsible for an inflammatory response. The decrease in the presence of NO was produced in a dose-dependent manner (range 5mg/kg – 50mg/kg). NO is a molecule that can mediate pro-inflammatory responses and needs to be well controlled to avoid excessive inflammation that can cause disease or damage to tissue.
It has been shown in vitro that protein extracts from Pleurotus pulmonarius have antidiabetic properties. The assays employed in this study monitored enzymes in the presence of protein extracts from Pleurotus pulmonarius. The enzymes are involved in carbohydrate metabolism and the study provides good evidence for the Pleurotus pulmonarius protein extracts as a method to inhibit these enzymes. A diabetic mouse model (alloxan treated) was used to examine the effect of aqueous Pleurotus pulmonarius extract and the results showed strong antihyperglycemic effects. These studies show that the use of Phoenix Mushroom could significantly reduce blood glucose elevations after food; therefore, it deserves consideration for its properties and potential use in the management of blood glucose levels, in particular in Diabetes Type II.
Allergic rhinitis is the most common atopic disease , atopy refers to the genetic predisposition to allergies. Allergic rhinitis is characterized by sneezing, itching and congestion of the nose and rhinorrhea. The administration of Pleurotus pulmonarius at a single dose of 500 mg/kg did not have a significant effect on mice with antigen-induced nasal rubbing and sneezing, but inhibition was observed following two weeks of treatment at 500 mg/kg; furthermore, after four weeks of administering the mice a dose of 200 mg/kg, a significant inhibition in symptoms were observed. Indicating that repeated doses of Pleurotus pulmonarius in this mouse model was suitable for treatment of the symptoms associated with Allergic rhinitis.
The cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The HIV (HIV-1 RT) inhibition ratio of Pleurotus pulmonarius extract was tested at the concentration level of 1 mg/ml and showed HIV-1 RT inhibition of 70.8%. This provides good evidence in vitro for the potential anti-viral properties of Pleurotus pulmonarius.
Pleurotus pulmonarius Uses
A US company, Ecovative Design, has proposed using the mycelium along with the growing substrate as a substitute for petroleum derived expanded polystyrene packing material or as an insulating material. It may also be used to absorb and digest oil spills and other petroleum produces.
Researchers in Mexico have shown that oyster mushrooms can break down disposable diapers.In vivo research has shown that consumption of oyster mushroom extracts lower cholesterol levels, an effect linked to their content of beta-glucans. However, this effect from mushrooms has not been proven in human subjects. Oyster mushrooms naturally contain up to 2.8% lovastatin on a dry weight basis.
Pleurotus pulmonarius Cooking Notes
The oyster mushroom is frequently used in Japanese, Korean and Chinese cookery as a delicacy: it is frequently served on its own, in soups, stuffed, or stir-fry recipes with soy sauce.
Oyster mushrooms are sometimes made into a sauce, used in Asian cooking, which is similar to oyster sauce. The mushroom's taste has been described as a mild with a slight odor similar to anise. The oyster mushroom is best when picked young; as the mushroom ages, the flesh becomes tough and the flavor becomes acrid and unpleasant.
Oyster mushrooms contain small amounts of arabitol, sugar alcohol, which may cause gastrointestinal upset in some people.
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