Many scientific discoveries are made in the wild, or at least in a dedicated lab. But two London scientists discovered three new types of mushrooms in a place where you'd least expect it — under the bright, florescent lights of a local grocery store.
Bryn Dentinger and Laura Martinez-Suz, who are both mycologists (biologists who specialize in fungi) at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, in London, spotted the mushrooms in a package of dried porcini mushrooms purchased at a grocery store in southwest greater London, according to CBC News.
Dentinger and Martinez-Suz used DNA-sequencing barcoding tests to match the mushrooms' DNA to known species. But of the 15 pieces in the mushroom package, three of the samples didn't have DNA matches.
"None of them had scientific names, so these were essentially new species to science," Dentiger told CBC News. "And we found three different species in the 15 pieces that we sampled from."
The pair published their findings in the journal PeerJ this month. The researchers stated in the journal that the new mushroom species are evidence of "the ubiquity of unknown fungal diversity, even in widely traded commercial food products." They added that porcini mushrooms have many more species than previously thought, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised if this is the first of many grocery-store discoveries.