Agaricus bisporus

Agaricus bisporus is an edible basidiomycete mushroom native to grasslands in Eurasia and North America. It has two color states while immature – white and brown – both of which have various names, with additional names for the mature state.

Agaricus bisporus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Agaricaceae
Genus: Agaricus
A. bisporus
Binomial name
Agaricus bisporus
(J.E.Lange) Imbach (1946)[1]
  • Psalliota hortensis f. bispora J.E.Lange (1926)
Agaricus bisporus
gills on hymenium
cap is convex
hymenium is free
stipe has a ring
spore print is brown
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: choice

A. bisporus is cultivated in more than seventy countries[2] and is one of the most commonly and widely consumed mushrooms in the world.


When immature and white, this mushroom may be known as:

  • common mushroom
  • white mushroom[3]
  • button mushroom[3]
  • cultivated mushroom
  • table mushroom
  • champignon (French for mushroom)

When immature and brown, it may be known variously as:

  • Swiss brown mushroom
  • Roman brown mushroom
  • Italian brown mushroom
  • cremini/crimini mushroom[4][5]
  • chestnut mushroom (not to be confused with Pholiota adiposa)
  • baby bella[4]

When marketed in its mature state, the mushroom is brown with a cap measuring 10–15 centimetres (4–6 inches).[5] This form is commonly sold under the names portobello,[5][6] portabella,[7] or portobella; the etymology is disputed.[5][6]


The common mushroom has a complicated taxonomic history. It was first described by English botanist Mordecai Cubitt Cooke in his 1871 Handbook of British Fungi, as a variety (var. hortensis) of Agaricus campestris.[8][9] Danish mycologist Jakob Emanuel Lange later reviewed a cultivar specimen, and dubbed it Psalliota hortensis var. bispora in 1926.[10] In 1938, it was promoted to species status and renamed Psalliota bispora.[11] Emil Imbach (18971970) imparted the current scientific name of the species, Agaricus bisporus after the genus Psalliota was renamed to Agaricus in 1946.[2] The specific epithet bispora distinguishes the two-spored basidia from four-spored varieties.


The pileus or cap of the original wild species is a pale grey-brown, with broad, flat scales on a paler background and fading toward the margins. It is first hemispherical before flattening out with maturity, and 5–10 centimetres (2–4 inches) in diameter. The narrow, crowded gills are free and initially pink, then red-brown, and finally a dark brown with a whitish edge from the cheilocystidia. The cylindrical stipe is up to 6 cm (2+12 in) tall by 1–2 cm (1234 in) wide and bears a thick and narrow ring, which may be streaked on the upper side. The firm flesh is white, although it stains a pale pinkish-red on bruising.[12][13] The spore print is dark brown. The spores are oval to round and measure approximately 4.5–5.5 μm × 5–7.5 μm, and the basidia usually two-spored, although two-tetrasporic varieties have been described from the Mojave Desert and the Mediterranean, with predominantly heterothallic and homothallic lifestyles, respectively.[14][15]

This mushroom is commonly found worldwide in fields and grassy areas following rain, from late spring to autumn, especially in association with manure. It is widely collected and eaten in many parts of the world; however, it resembles deadly or poisonous lookalikes (see below).

Lookalike species

The common mushroom could be confused with young specimens of the deadly poisonous destroying angel (Amanita sp.), but the latter may be distinguished by their volva or cup at the base of the mushroom and pure white gills (as opposed to pinkish or brown of A. bisporus).

A more common and less dangerous mistake is to confuse A. bisporus with Agaricus xanthodermus, an inedible mushroom found worldwide in grassy areas. A. xanthodermus has an odor reminiscent of phenol; its flesh turns yellow when bruised. This fungus causes nausea and vomiting in some people.

The poisonous European species Entoloma sinuatum has a passing resemblance but has yellowish gills, turning pink, and lacks a ring.

Cultivation history

A. bisporus being cultivated
Mushroom and truffle
production – 2019
Country Millions of
 United States0.38
Source: FAOSTAT of the United Nations[16]

The earliest scientific description of the commercial cultivation of A. bisporus was made by French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort in 1707.[17] French agriculturist Olivier de Serres noted that transplanting mushroom mycelia would lead to the propagation of more mushrooms.

Originally, cultivation was unreliable as mushroom growers would watch for good flushes of mushrooms in fields before digging up the mycelium and replanting them in beds of composted manure or inoculating 'bricks' of compressed litter, loam, and manure. Spawn collected this way contained pathogens, and crops would be infected or not grow.[18] In 1893, sterilized, or pure culture, spawn was discovered and produced by the Pasteur Institute in Paris for cultivation on composted horse manure.[19]

Modern commercial varieties of the common agaricus mushroom were originally light brown. The white mushroom was discovered in 1925 growing among a bed of brown mushrooms at the Keystone Mushroom Farm in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Louis Ferdinand Lambert, the farm's owner and a mycologist by training, brought the white mushroom back to his laboratory. As with the reception of white bread, it was seen as a more attractive food item and became grown and distributed.[20] Similar to the commercial development history of the navel orange and Red Delicious apple, cultures were grown from the mutant individuals. Most cream-colored store mushrooms marketed today are products of this 1925 chance natural mutation.

A. bisporus is now cultivated in at least seventy countries worldwide.[2]

In the U.S., the white button form of A. bisporus alone accounts for about 90% of mushrooms sold.[3]

Nutritional profile

Agaricus bisporus, white raw
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy93 kJ (22 kcal)
3.26 g
Sugars1.98 g
Dietary fiber1 g
0.34 g
3.09 g
Thiamine (B1)
0.081 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.402 mg
Niacin (B3)
3.607 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
1.497 mg
Vitamin B6
0.104 mg
Folate (B9)
17 μg
Vitamin B12
0.04 μg
Vitamin C
2.1 mg
Vitamin D
0.2 μg
0.5 mg
9 mg
86 mg
318 mg
3 mg
0.52 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water92.45 g

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central

In a 100-gram serving, raw white mushrooms provide 93 kilojoules (22 kilocalories) of food energy and are an excellent source (> 19% of the Daily Value, DV) of the B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid (table). Fresh mushrooms are also a good source (10–19% DV) of the dietary mineral phosphorus (table).

While fresh A. bisporus only contains 0.2 micrograms (8 IU) of vitamin D as ergocalciferol (vitamin D2), the ergocalciferol content increases substantially after exposure to UV light.[21][22]

See also


  1. Imbach EJ (1946). "Pilzflora des Kantons Luzern und der angrenzen Innerschweiz". Mitteilungen der naturforschenden Gesellschaft Luzern (in German). 15: 5–85.
  2. Cappelli A. (1984). Fungi Europaei:Agaricus (in Italian). Saronno, Italy: Giovanna Biella. pp. 123–25.
  3. "White Button". Fresh Mushrooms. Mushroom Council. n.d. Archived from the original on 29 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  4. "Crimini". Fresh Mushrooms. Mushroom Council. n.d. Archived from the original on 7 August 2022. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  5. GourmetSleuth (11 November 2013). "Portobello (Portobella) Mushrooms". Gourmet Sleuth. Archived from the original on 10 January 2019. Retrieved 9 January 2019.
  6. "portobello | Definition of portobello by Lexico". Lexico Dictionaries | English. Archived from the original on 31 August 2019. Retrieved 31 August 2019.
  7. "Portabella". Fresh Mushrooms. Mushroom Council. n.d. Archived from the original on 29 February 2020. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  8. Cooke MC (1871). Handbook of British Fungi. Vol. 1. London: Macmillan and Co. p. 138.
  9. "Species Fungorum – Species synonymy". Index Fungorum. CAB International. Archived from the original on 10 June 2011. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
  10. Lange JE (1926). "Studies in the agarics of Denmark. Part VI. Psalliota, Russula". Dansk Botanisk Arkiv. 4 (12): 1–52.
  11. Schäffer J, Møller FH (1939). "Beitrag zur Psalliota Forschung". Annales Mycologici (in German). 36 (1): 64–82.
  12. Zeitlmayr L (1976). Wild Mushrooms:An Illustrated Handbook. Garden City Press, Hertfordshire. pp. 82–83. ISBN 0-584-10324-7.
  13. Carluccio A. (2003). The Complete Mushroom Book. Quadrille. ISBN 1-84400-040-0.
  14. Callac P, Billette C, Imbernon M, Kerrigan RW (1993). "Morphological, genetic, and interfertility analyses reveal a novel, tetrasporic variety of Agaricus bisporus from the Sonoran Desert of California". Mycologia. 85 (5): 835–851. doi:10.2307/3760617. JSTOR 3760617.
  15. Callac P, Imbernon M, Guinberteau J, Pirobe L, Granit S, Olivier JM, Theochari I (2000). "Discovery of a wild Mediterranean population of Agaricus bisporus, and its usefulness for breeding work". Mushroom Science. 15: 245–252.
  16. "Production of mushrooms and truffles in 2019, Crops/Regions/World list/Production Quantity (pick lists)". UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT). 2020. Archived from the original on 12 November 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2021.
  17. Spencer DM (1985). "The mushroom–its history and importance". In Flegg PB, Spencer DM, Wood DA (eds.). The Biology and Technology of the Cultivated Mushroom. New York: John Wiley and Sons. pp. 1–8. ISBN 0-471-90435-X.
  18. Genders 1969, p. 19
  19. Genders 1969, p. 18
  20. Genders 1969, p. 121
  21. "Mushrooms and vitamin D". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 4 September 2011. Retrieved 23 August 2003.
  22. Koyyalamudi SR, Jeong SC, Song CH, Cho KY, Pang G (April 2009). "Vitamin D2 formation and bioavailability from Agaricus bisporus button mushrooms treated with ultraviolet irradiation". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 57 (8): 3351–5. doi:10.1021/jf803908q. PMID 19281276.

Further reading

  • Benjamin, Denis R. (1995). Mushrooms: poisons and panaceas—a handbook for naturalists, mycologists and physicians. New York: WH Freeman and Company. ISBN 0-7167-2600-9.
  • Genders, Roy (1969). Mushroom Growing for Everyone. London: Faber. ISBN 0-571-08992-5.
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