Nationalization and Globalization Trends in the Wild Mushroom Commerce of Italy with Emphasis on Porcini (Boletus edulis and Allied Species)

Professional Consulting Mycologist Loc. Farné 39—I-40042 Lizzano in Belvedere Italy
Economic Botany (Impact Factor: 0.77). 11/2008; 62(3):307-322. DOI: 10.1007/s12231-008-9037-4

ABSTRACT Nationalization and Globalization Trends in the Wild Mushroom Commerce of Italy with Emphasis on Porcini (
Boletus edulis
and Allied Species). This paper presents an historical overview of wild mushroom commerce in Italy, with a focus on recent trends in the production
of porcini (Boletus edulis and closely allied species). Over the past century, two major trends—nationalization and globalization—have been apparent
in the wild mushroom commerce of Italy. First, a simplified national mushroom menu has emerged through processes of governmental
regulation and culinary fashion, but it has come at the expense of differing, localized mushroom traditions which may suffer
under the European Union’s free trade principles. Second, Italy has emerged as a focal point of a global market for a small
number of mushroom species—particular porcini. While the name porcini has become synonymous with Italian cuisine, and in spite
of a vibrant tradition of recreational mushroom collecting in Italy, most of the porcini commercially available in Italy or
exported by Italy are no longer of Italian origin. Porcini and other mushrooms now flow into Italy from all over the world—especially
from China and eastern Europe—and are then often exported as “Italian porcini.” This globalization of the wild mushroom trade,
while offering significant income to rural producers and processors around the globe, has other effects as well, for example,
a kind of national branding as “Italian” of globally-produced products, of which porcini is one, that is in direct opposition
to some of the European Union’s rules for regional denominations.

Processi di Nazionalizzazione e Globalizzazione nel Commercio Italiano dei Funghi spontanei, con Particolare Riguardo ai Porcini
Boletus edulis
e Specie Affini). Questo articolo presenta una panoramica storica sul commercio dei funghi spontanei in Italia, con particolare riguardo alle
recenti tendenze nella produzione dei porcini (Boletus edulis e specie affini). Nello scorso secolo si sono osservate due tendenze principali—di nazionalizzazione e di globalizzazione—nel
commercio dei funghi spontanei in Italia. In primo luogo si è affermata nel territorio nazionale una tradizione limitata al
consumo di un numero contenuto di specie, sia per effetto di alcune normative che di mode culinarie, ma ciò è avvenuto a discapito
di tradizioni locali più ricche, che potrebbero ulteriormente risentire dei principi per il libero scambio all’interno dell’Unione
Europea. In secondo luogo, l’Italia si è posta in evidenza come un punto nodale per il mercato globale di alcune specie fungine,
in particolare dei porcini. Nonostante quest’ultimo termine sia tradizionalmente associato alla cucina italiana, e nonostante
esista in Italia una vivace e radicata tradizione nella raccolta amatoriale dei funghi, la maggior parte dei porcini ivi commercializzati
(allo stato fresco, essiccati o variamente conservati) o esportati verso altri paesi non sono più di origine locale. I porcini
e altre specie fungine giungono attualmente in Italia da ogni parte del mondo—in modo particolare dalla Cina e dall’Europa
orientale—e sono successivamente spesso esportati come “prodotti Italiani.” Questo processo di globalizzazione del mercato
dei funghi spontanei, pur offrendo un significativo introito ai raccoglitori e commercianti rurali su tutto il globo, è responsabile
di altri effetti, come per l’appunto una sorta di marchio nazionale “Italiano” su alcuni prodotti di provenienza globale,
come per l’appunto i porcini, cosa che contrasta con alcune delle regole dell’Unione Europea in materia di denominazioni regionali.

1 Follower
  • Source
    • "(¼B. aestivalis (Paulet) Fr.), B. pinophilus Pilá t & Dermek, and B. aereus Bull., also named porcini, are mushrooms with high commercial value in Europe, North America, and China (Singer 1986; Hall et al. 1998; Sitta and Floriani 2008; A ´ gueda et al. 2008a; Dentinger et al. 2010; Feng et al. 2012). The wholesale price of fresh porcini mushrooms in the US was around US $60/kg in 2009 and reached a price of US $200/kg (Dentinger et al. 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Boletus edulis is a well-known ectomycorrhizal mushroom. Although cultivation has been widely attempted, no artificial fruiting has been achieved owing to difficulties associated with mycorrhizal synthesis and acclimatization in fields. We collected fifteen B. edulis basidiomata samples from locations in Japan and identified them microscopically and by phylogenetic analysis of their nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions. Pure culture isolates of B. edulis were established efficiently on malt extract agar medium, and one isolate, EN-63, was inoculated to axenic Pinus densiflora seedlings in vitro. Brownish ectomycorrhizal tips were observed on the pine lateral roots within four months of inoculation. Ten pine seedlings that formed ectomycorrhizae were acclimatized under laboratory and greenhouse conditions. At four months after transplant, mycorrhizal colonization by B. edulis was observed on newly grown root tips under laboratory conditions, but no B. edulis ectomycorrhiza survived under greenhouse conditions. These results suggest that B. edulis ectomycorrhizae synthesized in vitro with P. densiflora requires additional steps for acclimatization to greenhouse conditions.
    Mycoscience 09/2014; 55(5):405–416. DOI:10.1016/j.myc.2013.11.008 · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "However, this proposed reclassification was not presented in a phylogenetic framework and the morphological homologies employed for justifying the transfer can be considered only as a hypothesis for phylogenetic relatedness (Patterson, 1982; Brower and Schawaroch, 1996). On the other hand, no molecular phylogenetic study including multiple species of porcini has found support for a single common ancestor of X. separans and other species of section Boletus (Binder, 1999; Simonini et al., 2001; Mello et al., 2006; Sitta and Floriani, 2008), seeming to indicate that X. separans is indeed distinct from all other porcini. Our goal in this study was to generate a globally representative, molecular phylogeny for porcini using multiple, independent gene regions that could be used to evaluate their monophyly and to estimate their date of origin and diversification. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Porcini (Boletus section Boletus: Boletaceae: Boletineae: Boletales) are a conspicuous group of wild, edible mushrooms characterized by fleshy fruiting bodies with a poroid hymenophore that is "stuffed" with white hyphae when young. Their reported distribution is with ectomycorrhizal plants throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Little progress has been made on the systematics of this group using modern molecular phylogenetic tools because sampling has been limited primarily to European species and the genes employed were insufficient to resolve the phylogeny. We examined the evolutionary history of porcini by using a global geographic sampling of most known species, new discoveries from little explored areas, and multiple genes. We used 78 sequences from the fast-evolving nuclear internal transcribed spacers and are able to recognize 18 reciprocally monophyletic species. To address whether or not porcini form a monophyletic group, we compiled a broadly sampled dataset of 41 taxa, including other members of the Boletineae, and used separate and combined phylogenetic analysis of sequences from the nuclear large subunit ribosomal DNA, the largest subunit of RNA polymerase II, and the mitochondrial ATPase subunit six gene. Contrary to previous studies, our separate and combined phylogenetic analyses support the monophyly of porcini. We also report the discovery of two taxa that expand the known distribution of porcini to Australia and Thailand and have ancient phylogenetic connections to the rest of the group. A relaxed molecular clock analysis with these new taxa dates the origin of porcini to between 42 and 54 million years ago, coinciding with the initial diversification of angiosperms, during the Eocene epoch when the climate was warm and humid. These results reveal an unexpected diversity, distribution, and ancient origin of a group of commercially valuable mushrooms that may provide an economic incentive for conservation and support the hypothesis of a tropical origin of the ectomycorrhizal symbiosis.
    Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 10/2010; 57(3):1276-92. DOI:10.1016/j.ympev.2010.10.004 · 4.02 Impact Factor
  • Source
    • "Most of the mushrooms grow abundantly in nature and their commercial harvest is being undertaken for benefit in these countries. Recent reports show a tradition of wild mushroom picking, their consumption and sale in the market in countries like Mexico, Italy, Australia and many others (Arora 2008, Guzman 2008, Sitta and Floriani 2008). However, the ecological data available on some of the taxa is still not enough and systematics of wild mushrooms has received more attention than other threatened aspects like conservation. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Karwa A, Rai MK (2010) Tapping into the edible fungi biodiversity of Central India. Biodiversitas 11: 97-101. Melghat forest in Central India was surveyed for occurrence of wild edible fungi and their prevalent favorable ecological factors. Studies were carried out for three consequent years in the months of June to February (2006-2008). A total of 153 species of mushrooms were recorded, collected, photographed and preserved. The enormous biomass in the forest favors variety of edible and medicinal mushrooms. Dominating species belong to genera Agaricus, Pleurotus, Termitomyces, Cantharellus, Ganoderma, Auricularia, Schizophyllum, Morchella, etc. The biotechnological potential of these important mushrooms is needed to be exploited. These studies will open new avenues in improvement of breeding programs of commercially cultivated mushroom species.
    04/2010; 11(2). DOI:10.13057/biodiv/d110209
Show more


Available from