Trialing Cultivating Chicken of the Woods Using Standard Mushroom Farm Technology While Confirming PCR Primer Sequence Traits in Fruiting Bodies

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 2021: $14,356.00
Projected End Date: 11/30/2022
Grant Recipient: Peasant's Parcel Mushroom Farm
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
Project Leader:
Sharon Briggs
Peasant's Parcel Mushroom Farm

Information Products


  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Production Systems: mycology lab

    Proposal summary:

    Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus, Laetiporus cincinnatus) is a commonly foraged wild mushroom considered of high culinary value. It is not currently grown for profit in the United States. Studies have show the viability of growing this sought after mushroom, but on farm trails have never taken place. We believe that if we utilize the previous research Chicken of the Woods could be easily grown by any mushroom farm for profit. Over the course of two years we will trial several commercially available and wild harvested cultures in a variety of substrates. This could increase the public’s knowledge of Chicken of the Woods while adding a high value crop to any interested farm.

    In the first year of this project we will collect Chicken of the Woods (COTW) samples from Volunteer Sample Collectors, volunteer amateur and professional mycologist reached via print and digital advertising. We will isolate these samples in our lab and catalog up the first 30 submitted. We will also procure two commercially available liquid cultures of COTW. All samples will be isolated in nutrified agar medium. We will utilize techniques derived from previous lab-based research on COTW growth to cultivate these samples. In year two we will focus on cultivating the varieties with the strongest showing in year one trials and doing polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis to test for the existence of previously researched primer sequences.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    In this research time our main objective is to successfully cultivate Chicken of the Woods indoors utilizing methods already practiced or easily accessible to any size mushroom farm. By showing the viability of growing COTW indoors, and making the methods and outcome publicly available, we believe that many mushroom growers will start bringing this high-value mushroom to market.

    The PCR work detailed in this application may not significantly add to the scientific knowledge of Chicken of the Woods DNA. Instead our second primary objective is to confirm previous lab-based research. We will confirm that identified primer sequences are associated with physical trains present in fruiting bodies, or growing mushrooms. This research will also make this knowledge more available to small mushroom growers interested in adding PCR technology to their labs, which is a growing trend.

    A tertiary objective is to disseminate information about Chicken of the Woods. We aim to inform both the general public about this delicious mushroom, and to inform farmers of the feasibility of cultivating it indoors. This is why we believe outreach is essential to the success of this project, and to the future use of the research outcomes.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.