, Volume 24, Issue 7, pp 511–523 | Cite as

Lactarius deliciosus and Pinus radiata in New Zealand: towards the development of innovative gourmet mushroom orchards

  • Alexis Guerin-LaguetteEmail author
  • Nicholas Cummings
  • Ruth Catherine Butler
  • Anna Willows
  • Nina Hesom-Williams
  • Shuhong Li
  • Yun Wang
Original Paper


The cultivation of Lactarius deliciosus (saffron milk cap) in New Zealand began in 2002 when fruiting bodies were produced in an Otago plantation of Pinus radiata seedlings artificially mycorrhized by L. deliciosus. In 2007, 42 P. radiata seedlings mycorrhized by L. deliciosus under controlled conditions were planted in a grass field at Plant and Food Research (Lincoln, Canterbury). The effects of pine bark mulch application and initial degree of mycorrhization of seedlings were examined to determine their influence on tree growth, development of mycorrhizae (i.e. their multiplication on the root system and their degree of branching) and fruiting body production. Mulch application increased tree growth significantly over 4 years. High initial mycorrhization slightly stimulated tree growth over 2 years. The initial degree of mycorrhization was positively, but not strongly, related to the persistence and development of L. deliciosus mycorrhizae and rhizomorphs based on root sample analyses 2 years after planting. However, mulching strongly reduced the proportion of highly branched L. deliciosus mycorrhizae compared with poorly ramified ones. A positive correlation was observed between the fruiting of L. deliciosus and the development of mycorrhizae. Mulching delayed the onset of fruiting body production. In 2010, fruiting bodies were produced only from non-mulched trees with eight of these (38 %) producing a total of 12 fruiting bodies. In 2011, 19 non-mulched trees (90 %) and 9 mulched trees (45 %) produced 143 and 47 fruiting bodies, respectively, totalling 190 fruiting bodies. By 2012, 19 non-mulched trees (90 %) and 13 mulched trees (65 %) produced 333 and 236 fruiting bodies, respectively, totalling 569 fruiting bodies (c. 30 kg). This study presents new information on factors influencing the onset of fruiting and the development of yields in a plantation of P. radiata mycorrhized by L. deliciosus. Projected yields as high as c. 300 kg/ha from the third year of production reiterate the feasibility of farming saffron milk cap in P. radiata plantations in New Zealand. Continued monitoring of this site and development of similar trials will provide important knowledge for the optimisation of yields in commercial saffron milk cap orchards.


Saffron milk cap Radiata pine Edible ectomycorrhizal fungus Cultivation Plantation Fruiting body 



We are grateful to Ian R. Hall without whose vision and efforts to promote the research on the cultivation of edible mycorrhizal fungi in New Zealand, this work would not have been possible. We thank Slaven Kljucanin and George and Pauline Strong, former members of our research team, who contributed to various technical steps of the project. We are also grateful to the many colleagues who contributed to the setting up and/or maintenance of the trial plantation at Lincoln: Stephen Griffith, Ikram Khan, Ralph Scott and several other farm staff. Site maintenance was facilitated by the cooperation of Scott Thompson of Landcare Research Lincoln. We thank Richard Falloon, Matthew Cromey, Bob Fullerton and two anonymous reviewers for helpful suggestions to improve the manuscript. This study was partially supported until 2010 by the New Zealand government through the FRST programme ‘Made in the Shade’, and by First Light Mushroom Co Ltd (Gisborne, New Zealand).

Supplementary material

572_2014_570_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.9 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1947 kb)


  1. Blyth CR (1986) Approximate binomial confidence limits. J Am Stat Assoc 81:843–855. doi: 10.1080/01621459.1986.10478343 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boa E (2004) Wild edible fungi: a global overview of their use and importance to people. FAO, RomaGoogle Scholar
  3. Borgarino D, Hurtado C (2001) Champignons de Provence. [Mushrooms of Provence] Édisud, Aix-en-Provence (in French)Google Scholar
  4. Burton RD (2002) Pinus radiata D. Don. Pines of silvicultural importance. CAB International, Wallingford, pp 359–379Google Scholar
  5. De Román M, Boa E (2006) The marketing of Lactarius deliciosus in northern Spain. Econ Bot 60:284–290. doi: 10.1663/0013-0001(2006)60[284:TMOLDI]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Egli S, Peter M, Buser C, Stahel W, Ayer F (2006) Mushroom picking does not impair future harvests—results of a long-term study in Switzerland. Biol Conserv 129:271–276. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2005.10.042 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Egli S, Ayer F, Peter M, Eilmann B, Rigling A (2010) Is forest mushroom productivity driven by tree growth? Results from a thinning experiment. Ann For Sci 67(509):1–9Google Scholar
  8. Ferrini F, Fini A, Frangi P, Amoroso G (2008) Mulching of ornamental trees: effect on growth and physiology. Arboricult Urban For 34:157–162Google Scholar
  9. Flores R, Diaz G, Honrubia M (2005) Mycorrhizal synthesis of Lactarius indigo (Schw.) Fr. with five Neotropical pine species. Mycorrhiza 15:563–570. doi: 10.1007/s00572-005-0004-y PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. GenStat Committee (2010a) GenStat reference manual, release 13—part 3, Procedure Library PL21. VSN International, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  11. GenStat Committee (2010b) The guide to GenStat Release 13—parts 1–3. VSN International, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Guerin-Laguette A (1998) Les lactaires à lait rouge: mycorhization contrôlée des pins et caractérisation moléculaire. Application à l’étude de la compétence écologique et de la compétitivité d’isolats de Lactarius deliciosus. [The red milk cap mushrooms: controlled mycorrhization of pines and molecular characterization. Application to study the ecological competence and the competitiveness of isolates of Lactarius deliciosus.] in French with English summary, Ph.D. thesis, Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de MontpellierGoogle Scholar
  13. Guerin-Laguette A, Plassard C, Mousain D (2000) Effects of experimental conditions on mycorrhizal relationships between Pinus sylvestris and Lactarius deliciosus and unprecedented fruit-body formation of the Saffron milk cap under controlled soilless conditions. Can J Microbiol 46:790–799. doi: 10.1139/w00-059 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Guerin-Laguette A, Conventi S, Ruiz G, Plassard C, Mousain D (2003) The ectomycorrhizal symbiosis between Lactarius deliciosus and Pinus sylvestris in forest soil samples: symbiotic efficiency and development on roots of a rDNA internal transcribed spacer-selected isolate of L. deliciosus. Mycorrhiza 13:17–25. doi: 10.1007/s00572-002-0191-8 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guerin-Laguette A, Cummings N, Hesom-Williams N, Butler R, Wang Y (2013) Mycorrhiza analyses in New Zealand truffières reveal frequent but variable persistence of Tuber melanosporum in co-existence with other truffle species. Mycorrhiza 23:87–98. doi: 10.1007/s00572-012-0450-2 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Heim R, Leclair A (1950) Notes systématiques sur les Champignons du Perche. II. Les Lactaires à lait rouge (Stirpe deliciosus). [Systematic notes on fungi of the Perche region. II. The Red Milk Caps (section deliciosus)]. Rev Mycol XV: 65–79 (in French)Google Scholar
  17. Kraus TEC, Dahlgren RA, Zasoski RJ (2003) Tannins in nutrient dynamics of forest ecosystems—a review. Plant Soil 256:41–66. doi: 10.1023/A:1026206511084 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Le Tacon F, Mousain D, Garbaye J, Bouchard D, Churin JL, Argillier C, Amirault JM, Généré B (1997) Mycorhizes, pépinières et plantations forestières en France. [Mycorrhizae, nurseries and forest plantations in France.]. In French with English summary. Rev For Fr 49 Special issue:131–154Google Scholar
  19. Le Tacon F, Bouchard D, Martin F, Selosse MA (2000) Effects of Laccaria bicolor strains inoculated on Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) several years after nursery inoculation. Can J For Res 30:360–371. doi: 10.1139/x99-221 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lee Y, Nelder JA, Pawitan Y (2006) Generalized linear models with random effects: unified analysis via H-likelihood. Chapman & Hall/CRC Press, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Leonardi M, Iotti M, Oddis M, Lalli G, Pacioni G, Leonardi P, Maccherini S, Perini C, Salerni E, Zambonelli A (2013) Assessment of ectomycorrhizal fungal communities in the natural habitats of Tuber magnatum (Ascomycota, Pezizales). Mycorrhiza 23:349–358. doi: 10.1007/s00572-012-0474-7 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Luoma DL, Eberhart JL, Abbott R, Moore A, Amaranthus MP, Pilz D (2006) Effects of harvesting techniques on subsequent American matsutake production. For Ecol Manag 236:65–75. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2006.08.342 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Maggard AO, Will RE, Hennessey TC, McKinley CR, Cole JC (2012) Tree-based mulches influence soil properties and plant growth. HortTtechnology 22:353–361Google Scholar
  24. Martínez-Peña F, Ágreda T, Águeda B, Ortega-Martínez P, Fernández-Toirán LM (2012) Edible sporocarp production by age class in a Scots pine stand in Northern Spain. Mycorrhiza 22:167–174. doi: 10.1007/s00572-011-0389-8 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marx DH, Marrs LF, Cordell CE (2002) Practical use of the mycorrhizal fungal technology in forestry, reclamation, arboriculture, agriculture and horticulture. Dendrobiology 47:27–40Google Scholar
  26. McCullagh P, Nelder JA (1989) Generalized linear models. Chapman & Hall, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nuytinck J, Verbeken A (2007) Species delimitation and phylogenetic relationships in Lactarius section Deliciosi in Europe. Mycol Res 111:1285–1297. doi: 10.1016/j.mycres.2007.09.001 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Orlovich D, Cairney JWG (2004) Ectomycorrhizal fungi in New Zealand: current perspectives and future directions. N Z J Bot 42:721–738. doi: 10.1080/0028825X.2004.9512926 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parladé J, Pera J, Luque J (2004) Evaluation of mycelial inocula of edible Lactarius species for the production of Pinus pinaster and P. sylvestris mycorrhizal seedlings under greenhouse conditions. Mycorrhiza 14:171–176. doi: 10.1007/s00572-003-0252-7 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Payne R, Welham S, Harding S (2011) A guide to REML in GenStat. VSN International, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  31. Peintner U, Iotti M, Klotz P, Bonuso E, Zambonelli A (2007) Soil fungal communities in a Castanea sativa (chestnut) forest producing large quantities of Boletus edulis sensu lato (porcini): where is the mycelium of porcini? Environ Microbiol 9:880–889. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2006.01208.x PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Poitou N, Mamoun M, Ducamp M, Delmas J (1984) Après le bolet granuleux, le Lactaire délicieux obtenu en fructification au champ à partir de plants mycorhizés. [After the granulated bolete, the saffron milk cap fruited in the field from mycorrhizal seedlings]. PHM Rev Hortic 244:65–68, in FrenchGoogle Scholar
  33. Poitou N, Mamoun M, Ducamp M, Guinberteau J, Olivier JM (1989) Controlled mycorrhization and experimental cultivation in the field of Boletus (=Suillus) granulatus and Lactarius deliciosus. Mushroom Sci 12(Part II):551–564Google Scholar
  34. Savoie JM, Largeteau ML (2011) Production of edible mushrooms in forest: trends in development of a mycosilviculture. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 89:971–979. doi: 10.1007/s00253-010-3022-4 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Smith SE, Read DJ (2008) Mycorrhizal symbiosis, 3rd edn. Academic Press Ltd, LondonGoogle Scholar
  36. Voces R, Diaz-Balteiro L, Alfranca Ó (2012) Demand for wild edible mushrooms. The case of Lactarius deliciosus in Barcelona (Spain). J For Econom 18:47–60. doi: 10.1016/j.jfe.2011.06.003 Google Scholar
  37. Wang Y, Hall IR (2004) Edible mycorrhizal mushrooms: challenges and achievements. Can J Bot 82:1063–1073. doi: 10.1139/B04-051 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wang Y, Hall IR, Dixon C, Hance-Halloy M, Strong G, Brass P (2002) The cultivation of Lactarius deliciosus (saffron milk cap) and Rhizopogon rubescens (shoro) in New Zealand. In: Hall IR, Wang Y, Danell E, Zambonelli A (eds) Edible mycorrhizal mushrooms and their cultivation, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Edible Mycorrhizal Mushrooms, Christchurch 3–6 July 2001. New Zealand Institute for Crop & Food Research Limited, New ZealandGoogle Scholar
  39. Wang Y, Cummings N, Guerin-Laguette A (2012) Cultivation of Basidiomycete edible ectomycorrhizal mushrooms: Tricholoma, Lactarius and Rhizopogon. In Zambonelli A and Bonito G (eds) Edible ectomycorrhizal mushrooms. Soil Biology 34, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp 281–304. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-33823-6_16
  40. Yamada A, Ogura T, Ohmasa M (2001) Cultivation of mushrooms of edible ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with Pinus densiflora by in vitro mycorrhizal synthesis I. Primordium and basidiocarp formation in open-pot culture. Mycorrhiza 11:59–66. doi: 10.1007/s005720000092 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexis Guerin-Laguette
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nicholas Cummings
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ruth Catherine Butler
    • 1
  • Anna Willows
    • 1
  • Nina Hesom-Williams
    • 1
  • Shuhong Li
    • 2
  • Yun Wang
    • 1
  1. 1.The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research LimitedChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Biotechnology and Germplasm Resources InstituteYunnan Academy of Agricultural SciencesKunmingChina
  3. 3.Present address: Bio-Protection Research CentreLincoln UniversityLincolnNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations