Fungi possess a range of light receptors to regulate metabolism and differentiation. To study the effect of light on Lentinula edodes (the shiitake mushroom), mycelial cultures were exposed to blue, green, and red fluorescent lights and light-emitting diodes, as well as green laser light. Biomass production, morphology, and pigment production were evaluated. Exposure to green light at intervals of 1 min/d at 0.4 W/m2 stimulated biomass production by 50–100 %, depending on the light source. Light intensities in excess of 1.8 W/m2 or illumination longer than 30 min/d did not affect biomass production. Carotenoid production and morphology remained unaltered during increased biomass production. These observations provide a cornerstone to the study of photoreception by this important fungus.
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