The dried shih-ti-kui mushrooms found in some lakes in China have begun to take root, according to new research.
The mushrooms, which are native to South Asia and are sometimes used as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, are found mostly in the dry Lake of Lingshan in Henan province.
The fungus has been known to grow in dry, nutrient-poor environments since the 1970s, but new research has shown that the fungus is now thriving in water with high concentrations of nitrogen.
The study published online this week in the journal Scientific Reports by a team of researchers in Henopiao County, Henan Province, said the mushrooms were capable of growing on the water column in the region, but did not yet have the ability to root.
The research, conducted by researchers at China Agricultural University, revealed that the mushrooms grew under a low-nutrient-rich environment and that the bacteria that the fungi used to thrive on in this environment could help them thrive.
A small sample of mushrooms from the lake showed signs of growth in the water.
The researchers said the bacteria also helped the mushrooms survive in a low oxygen environment, which was critical to their growth.
“We can see that the growth of mushrooms under low oxygen conditions is related to the pH of the lake,” Zhiguo Zhao, the paper’s lead author, said in a statement.
“Our findings indicate that a nutrient rich environment is essential for the growth and survival of the fungi.”