Bioluminescent mushrooms are mushrooms that emit a green glow (wavelength of 520–530 nm) which derives from a chemical process in living cells.
There are approximately 105 species of bioluminescent mushrooms in the world although this number is consistently rising as new species are found. Brazil contains a total of approximately 29 species (some awaiting confirmation), however, our region in the Atlantic Forest alone contains 27 species. This makes our region the area with the highest concentration of bioluminescent mushrooms in the world.
Bioluminescent mushrooms are only abundant during the summer, when humid conditions are favorable for their development. IPBio wants to develop a protocol that will allow us to grow them in the laboratory under controlled conditions, so that they are always available throughout the year. This would allow researchers to study them for longer periods and students on school trips to visualize the mushrooms during winter trips when they don't grow naturally.
By isolating cultures of bioluminescent fungi, we can build a bank of bioluminescent species from PETAR and Iporanga. These cultures will serve to preserve the species and carry out studies on the evolution of bioluminescence in the kingdom of Fungi through DNA sequencing of the "ITS / nLSU" regions (taxonomic classification), as well as the specific gene "luciferase", via RNA extraction. This study is critical to understanding the evolution and emergence of bioluminescent fungi on Earth.
IPBio would like to produce its second eBook on mushrooms, called “Cogumelos da Mata Atlântica”, which would be a continuation of the eBook “Aves da Mata Atlântica”, which reached 26,000 downloads .
Museum of Bioluminescence
Bioluminescent mushrooms attract a lot of attention due to their impressive appearance. Their ability to inspire curiosity gives them great tourist appeal. This tourism potential can be a catalyst for economic development in a region with a high level of poverty. Furthermore, tourism could be used as a tool for conservation education, through interesting and teaching the public about our natural wonders.
Therfore, IPBio plans to build a “Bioluminescence Museum”, where visitors enter a dark interior room that contains a bioluminescent mushroom garden. The visitor will be guided by a biologist who explains: the phenomena of bioluminescence; the significance of the Valley for Ribeira biodiversity, as well as the fundamentals of mushroom chemistry and biology. As the tourist leaves, they can visit our shop, which will contain bioluminescent themed souvenirs such as shiny T-shirts, and can buy a bioluminescent ornamental mushroom to take home.
Bioluminescent Mushroom Inventory: In 2017, there were 17 known species in Brazil with 15 species described for Atlantic Forest. IPBio was dedicated to searching for new species of bioluminescent mushrooms, finding a total of 12 new species for the Atlantic Forest , which are being analyzed and may be species not yet described.
Non-Bioluminescent Mushroom Inventory: IPBio also conducts a general mushroom inventory, including non-bioluminescent species, and studies the seasonal fluctuations and weather conditions that permit them to fruit in nature.
Below are images of some of the species from our region.
Interactive 3D Model
Mycena luxaeterna – Day simulation
Interactive 3D Model
Mycena luxaeterna – Simulation of the night
The Laboratory of Fungi Bioluminescence of USP Chemistry Institute
Cassius Vinicius Stevani, a professor at the University of São Paulo, recognized worldwide for his experience in fungal bioluminescence, established a partnership with IPBio to research bioluminescent mushrooms in the Vale do Ribeira.