Cycling in degradation of organic polymers and uptake of nutrients by a litter-degrading fungus

Aurin M. Vos*, Robert Jan Bleichrodt, Koen C. Herman, Robin A. Ohm, Karin Scholtmeijer, Heike Schmitt, Luis G. Lugones, Han A.B. Wösten

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Wood and litter degrading fungi are the main decomposers of lignocellulose and thus play a key role in carbon cycling in nature. Here, we provide evidence for a novel lignocellulose degradation strategy employed by the litter degrading fungus Agaricus bisporus (known as the white button mushroom). Fusion of hyphae allows this fungus to synchronize the activity of its mycelium over large distances (50 cm). The synchronized activity has a 13-h interval that increases to 20 h before becoming irregular and it is associated with a 3.5-fold increase in respiration, while compost temperature increases up to 2°C. Transcriptomic analysis of this burst-like phenomenon supports a cyclic degradation of lignin, deconstruction of (hemi-) cellulose and microbial cell wall polymers, and uptake of degradation products during vegetative growth of A. bisporus. Cycling in expression of the ligninolytic system, of enzymes involved in saccharification, and of proteins involved in nutrient uptake is proposed to provide an efficient way for degradation of substrates such as litter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-238
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number1
Early online date2 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


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