What You Should Know
Cyclocybe aegerita (Cyclocybe cylindracea) is one of the tastiest mushrooms grown in temperate climates, has a unique flavor, good nutritive and medicinal values.
This mushroom is cultivated commercially. It is used in Chinese cooking, both fresh and rehydrated, in various dishes, including stir-fry, soup, stew, and hot pot. It has a soft cap and a harder stem. This mushroom is known to have an antitumor lectin.
Other names: Black Poplar, Poplar Mushroom, Chestnut Mushroom, Velvet Pioppini, Yanagi-matsutake (Japanese).
Cyclocybe aegerita Mushroom Identification
The Poplar Fieldcap has caps 4 to10cm across when fully expanded; they are at first hemispherical, becoming broadly convex or flat and with a wavy margin; in dry weather, the surface often cracks (as pictured here); pale buff, flushed mid brown towards the center and darkening with age.
5 to 10cm long and 1 to 1.5cm dia.; creamy white, turning brown with age; persistent, pendent ring.
Poplar Fieldcap gills are adnate or slightly decurrent; initially, cream, turning gray-brown and later mid-brown as spores mature.
Pleurocystidia and Cheilocystidia
The pleurocystidia (cystidia standing out from the gill faces) and cheilocystidia (cystidia standing out from the gill edges) are quite variable, often clavate but sometimes lageniform or (as seen here) utriform.
Cyclocybe aegerita Health Benefits
Slows down osteoporosis
Contains high amounts of vitamins and minerals
Pioppino mushroom benefits are traditionally used in Chinese medicine for the wellbeing of the stomach. It also ensured that the spleen was well nourished. The Chinese also used the mushroom to keep the kidneys working properly.
This mushroom is also recognized in present-day science as having anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibiotic, and anti-tumor properties. It is said to contain compounds with prohibitive properties against the cyclooxygenase enzyme, which medications such as the target of Adril, Tylenol, and others try to fight too.
The Chest Mushroom is valuable in the provision of bioactive secondary metabolites. These metabolites include Cylindan which has anti-cancer properties, agrocybenine with antifungal properties, and indole derivatives which can hunt down free radicals. These antioxidants also suppress the absorption of cholesterol. By inhibiting the production of the enzymes Aromatase and 5 alpha-reductase, these antioxidants prevent prostate and breast cancer.
The anti-cancer properties of the Chestnut are detailed in the 2009 book Biotechnology in China I: From Bioreaction to Bioseparation and Bioremediation, a joint venture of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and the Dalian University of Technology.
Also according to BobekP, Galbavy S (2001), "Effect of pleuran (beta-glucan from Pleurotusostreatus) on the antioxidant status of the organism and on dimethylhydrazine - induced precancerous lesions in rat colon", Agrocybe Aegeritais able to fight against cancer through its natural properties.
The Chestnut Mushroom is also hailed as being able to slow down the effects of osteoporosis, some of which is weakening of the vertebrae. Its antiseptic properties also help keep the body free of infection.
Cyclocybe aegerita Cultivation
Wheat straw or sawdust is wetted thoroughly with water for 16-18 hrs.
After wetting 5-10 percent wheat bran is added to the sawdust and mixed thoroughly. Polypropylene bags are used for the cultivation. Two kg wet substrate is filled in each bag.
The bags are plugged with non-absorbent cotton by inserting a ring in the mouth of the bag. The filled bags are sterilized in the autoclaves for 1½ -2 hour at 22 p.s.i.
After the bags have been sterilized and cooled down to room temperature, they are inoculated with 2-4% wheat grain based spawn.
The Bags are placed/ arranged in incubation rooms where mycelia can grow favorably. The optimum temperature for the mycelial growth is between 25 and 28°C, so the temperature of the incubation room is kept between 23°C and 26°C under the normal commercial cultivation conditions.
Mycelia spread over the whole bag after 25-30 days.
Once the mycelium has fully colonized the substrate and formed thick mycelial mat it is ready for fruiting.
Contaminated bags with mold may be discarded while bags with patchy mycelial growth may be left for a few more days to complete the mycelial growth. At this stage, the bags should be opened. A temperature of 25-28°C and RH 80-85% are maintained.
Good fruit bodies are encouraged to form by adjusting the humidity in the room and by the correct moisture content of the substrate.
Small primordia start appearing after 5-8 days after opening the bags which become ready to harvest in the next four days. The average weight of a single fruit body is 3.5g.
The fruit bodies could be sun-dried or could be stored in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.
On an average 300g of fresh fruit, bodies can be harvested from half Kg dry wheat straw, thereby giving 60% biological efficiency.
Cyclocybe aegerita Cooking Notes
The Chestnut has a strong taste and fits well in different dishes. It goes in sauces, salads, pasta, quiches, soups, casseroles, omelets, among others.
Fresh foods lose their flavor and nutritional value if not kept properly. This preservation of nutrients is paramount especially because many of the elements in the mushroom have medicinal value. When taken in the food, the medicinal elements ensure various ailments are kept at arm’s length and the consumer leads a relatively healthy life.
Cyclocybe aegerita How to Store?
To ensure the Chestnut mushroom retains its flavor, its nutritional value, and edibility, it needs to be well washed, towel-dried, kept in a fridge. The ideal length of storage is 3 days. The mushroom should not be wrapped in a plastic bag. If that happens, it will begin to sweat and start going bad in no time.
Keep in a paper bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. Do not store them in a plastic bag because they will sweat and quickly spoil.
Cyclocybe aegerita Taxonomy and Etymology
In 1876 Augustus Pyramis De Candolle described this wood-rotting fungus he gave it the scientific binomial name Pholiota cylindracea, which established its basionym. It was French mycologist René Charles Joseph Ernest Maire (1878 - 1949) who in 1938 transferred the Poplar Fieldcap to the Agrocybe genus.
Based on the results of recent DNA analysis, in 2014 Italian mycologists Alfredo Vizzini and Claudio Angelini transferred it to the genus Cyclocybe, establishing the currently-accepted scientific name Cyclocybe cylindracea.
Synonyms of Cyclocybe cylindracea include Agaricus cylindraceus DC., Agaricus aegerita V. Brig., Agaricus capistratus Cooke, Agaricus leochromus Cooke, Pholiota aegerita (V. Brig.) Quél., Pholiota cylindracea (DC.) Gillet, Pholiota capistrata (Cooke) Sacc., Pholiota leochroma (Cooke) Sacc., Agrocybe aegerita (V. Brig.) Fayod, Togaria cylindracea (DC.) Romagn., and Agrocybe cylindracea (DC.) Maire.
In some field guides, this mushroom is recorded in the family Bolbitiaceae rather than, as here, in Strophariaceae.
Not all fieldcap fungi occur in open fields, and the Dark Fieldcap is a mushroom of field margins, hedgerows, woodlands, and other shady places near trees. 'Fieldcap' is derived from Agro-, of fields, and -cybe, head or cap, and is, therefore, a direct translation of the generic old name Agrocybe.
The prefix Cyclo- means circular, and so Cyclocybe refers to a circular head (not to be confused with 'Roundhead', which is a general term applied to fungi of the genus Stropharia!). The specific epithet cylindracea simply means cylindrical.
Photo 1 - Author: Ramiro Barreiro (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: Archenzo (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
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