Ganoderma or Lingzhi in Chinese language is a genus of polypore mushrooms that grow on wood and include about 80 species,
many from tropical regions.Because of their extensive use in traditional Asian medicines, and their potential in bioremediation,
they are a very important genus economically.
Ganoderma can be differentiated from other polypores because they have a double-walled basidiospore.
They are popularly referred to as shelf mushrooms or bracket fungi.
The name Ganoderma is derived from the Greek ganos “brightness, sheen”, hence “shining” and derma”skin”.
The genus Ganoderma was erected as a genus in 1881 by Karsten and included only one species, G. lucidum (Curtis) Karst .
Previously, this taxon was characterized as Boletus lucidus Curtis (1781) and then Polyporus lucidus (Curtis) Fr. (1821) (Karsten 1881).
The species P. lucidus was characterized by having a laccate pileus and stipe,
and this is a character that Murrill suspects was the reason for Karsten’s division because only one species was included, G. lucidum .Patouillard revised Karsten’s genus Ganoderma to include all species with pigmented spores,
adhering tubes and laccate crusted pilei, which resulted with a total of 48 species classified under the genus Ganoderma in his 1889 monograph.
Ganoderma are characterized by basidiocarps that are large, perennial, woody brackets also called “conks”.
They are lignicolous and leathery either with or without a stem.The fruit bodies typically grow in a fan-like or hoof-like form on the trunks of living or dead trees.
They have double-walled, truncate spores with yellow to brown ornamented inner layers.
Ganoderma are wood-decaying fungi
They can grow on both coniferous and hardwood species.They are white-rot fungi with enzymes that allow them to break down wood compon
ents such as lignin and cellulose.
There has been significant research interest in trying to harness the power of these wood-degrading enzymes for industrial applications such as biopulping or bioremediation.
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