Several methods have been reported for drying mushroom specimens for population genetic, taxonomic, and phylogenetic studies. However, most methods have not been directly compared for their effectiveness in preserving mushroom DNA. In this study, we compared silica gel drying at ambient temperature and oven drying at seven different temperatures. Two mushroom species representing two types of fruiting bodies were examined: the fleshy button mushroom
Agaricus bisporusand the leathery shelf fungus Trametes versicolor. For each species dried with the eight methods, we assessed the mushroom water loss rate, the quality and quantity of extracted DNA, and the effectiveness of using the extracted DNA as a template for PCR amplification of two DNA fragments (ITS and a single copy gene). Dried specimens from all tested methods yielded sufficient DNA for PCR amplification of the two genes in both species. However, differences among the methods for the two species were found in: (i) the time required by different drying methods for the fresh mushroom tissue to reach a stable weight; and (ii) the relative quality and quantity of the extracted genomic DNA. Among these methods, oven drying at 70 °C for 3–4 h seemed the most efficient for preserving field mushroom samples for subsequent molecular work.