Eske tells a story about everything you ever wanted to know about Lactifluus

Fungi are a large and hyper-diverse group with major taxa present in every ecosystem on earth. However, compared to other eukaryotic organisms, their diversity is largely understudied. Since the rise of molecular techniques, new lineages are being discovered at an increasing rate, but many are not accurately characterised. Access to comprehensive and reliable taxonomic information of organisms is fundamental for research in different disciplines exploring a variety of questions.

A globally dominant ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal family in terrestrial ecosystems is the Russulaceae (Russulales, Basidiomycota) family. Amongst the mainly agaricoid Russulaceae genera, the ectomycorrhizal genus Lactifluus was historically least studied due to its largely tropical distribution in many underexplored areas and the apparent occurrence of several species complexes. Due to increased studies in the tropics, knowledge on Lactifluus grew. For several decades, the Russulaceae family has been the focus of our research group, and Eske has been studying the genus Lactifluus since 2010.

In this paper we demonstrate that Lactifluus is now one of the best-known ECM genera. The paper aims to provide a thorough overview of the current knowledge of Lactifluus, with information on diversity, distribution, ecology, phylogeny, taxonomy, morphology, and ethnomycological uses of species in this genus. This is a result of our larger study, aimed at building a comprehensive and complete dataset or taxonomic framework for Lactifluus, based on molecular, morphological, biogeographical, and taxonomical data as a tool and reference for other researchers.

Citation: De Crop E., Delgat L., Nuytinck J., Halling R.E., Verbeken A. 2021 A short story of nearly everything in Lactifluus (Russulaceae). Fungal Systematics and Evolution 7:133–164.

Link to the paper (open access):