Micro-CT Examination of a Tree Mushroom

Polypores are a group of fleshy fungi with pores or tubes underneath. Taxonomically, the polypores are complicated and not completely understood, with an amazing amount of morphological diversity. While many can be identified by their macro features and the host tree they are attached to, if a mushroom grows on a large stump in the middle of a forest of small trees it may be hard to identify the tree and the mushroom. In this case, other features are needed to identify the polypore, and micro-CT provides an excellent alternative to assist with fungi identification and analysis through microstructure studies. 

Figure 1: Volume rendering of the overall mushroom specimen.

This micro-CT visualization of a large tree mushroom allows us to demonstrate the large sample volume capacity provided by the SkyScan1273 without sacrificing fine detail. As can be seen in Figure 1, the large tree mushroom, roughly 4” in width,  is easily accommodated within the scanning bounds.

Figure 2: Transaxial cross-section of the mushroom specimen (top); zoomed in, pseudo-color enhancement of porosity (bottom).

In Figure 2, virtually cross-cutting the sample in various directions using DataViewer and zooming in reveals the very fine details of the mushroom morphology against a dark background. The microscopic spore bearing cells, or Hymenium, are easily observed and may be segmented in CTAn for quantitative analyses. Additionally, hidden features, such as growth rings and worm burrows, are observed in the tree mushroom which have previously only described with destructive sampling, testifying to the high-level scientific observations that can be achieved through non-destructive imaging with the SkyScan 1273.


The SkyScan 1273 is capable of accommodating samples up to 500 mm length, 300 mm diameter, and a maximum weight of 20 kg without sacrificing image quality and fine-scale details. The tree mushroom contains microscopic spore containing cells that can easily be viewed in a high-quality oversize scan lasting just over 2 hours, as well as other features that could only be observed previously through destructive imaging procedures.

Scan Specifications

Sample                               Tree Mushroom

Voltage (kV)                      70

Current (uA)                      53

Pixel Size (um)                  51

Rotation Step                    0.2

Scan Time (HH:MM:SS)  02:13:24

This scan was completed on our high speed SkyScan 1273 system at the Micro Photonics Imaging Laboratory in Allentown, PA. Reconstructions were completed using NRecon and visualization of 2D and 3D results were completed using DataViewer and CTVox.




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