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poisonous fungi

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  • debbie viess
    There was a great turnout for Dr. Michael Beug s talk to the Sonoma County Mycological Society this past Thursday night. Michael is currently the head of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 22 11:39 AM
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      There was a great turnout for Dr. Michael Beug's talk
      to the Sonoma County Mycological Society this past
      Thursday night. Michael is currently the head of the
      North American Mycological Association's toxicology
      committee. Aside from the usual amanita suspects, he
      shared with us many interesting nuggets of information
      gleaned from decades of data contained
      within the NAMA North American Mushroom Poisoning
      Registry.

      Of particular interest to me:

      *eating blackening russulas can be fatal(!)

      *the darker the cap of an Amanita pantherina, the more
      toxin contained within.

      *there is no difference in the incidence of Gyromitra
      esculenta poisonings across the continent, i.e., you
      are just as likely to get ill from eating
      G. esculenta in CA as you are in Michigan, and this is
      no mere stomach ache: gyromitrins/MMH can cause liver
      damage, cancer and death! So much for the myth of the
      less toxic mountain forms...

      *the spate of deaths caused by eating Pleurocybella
      (Angel wings) in Japan several years ago occured only
      within a population of people that already had
      weakened kidney function, and who, in fact, were
      already on dialysis. There was also an unusually heavy
      fruiting of these mushrooms that year. Angel wings are
      a very popular edible in Japan, and much greater
      quantities than normal were consumed.

      *orange-capped Leccinum species not only can cause
      poisonings, but, in some cases, serious poisonings of
      very long duration, with GI effects lasting from a
      week to ten days! (As an interesting aside, Beug
      mentioned to me that about a year ago, he had just
      reassured one of his college classes that Leccinum
      manzanitae, one of the orange-capped leccinums, was
      perfectly safe to eat. When he returned home, he found
      an email from me that told of my daughter
      being poisoned by this very mushroom!)

      *in 2003, morels were the most frequently reported
      cause of mushroom poisoning(!).

      *handling Suillus can cause dermatitis in susceptible
      people.

      *Amanita ocreata is the most toxic of the amatoxin
      containing amanitas, with 100% of ingestors showing
      liver damage, and 80% kidney failure.

      *eating raw mushrooms of any kind blocks protein
      uptake, a kind of "anti-nutrition".


      Conclusions?

      Cook all of your mushrooms well, and eschew raw ones
      in your salads.

      Don't eat Gyromitra esculenta, period.

      Don't eat white amanitas (even though some of the
      edible species can have white forms); too easy for
      that one little mistake to be your last.

      Don't pig-out on mushrooms. Less is more. Although
      they are nutritious and flavorful when cooked, the
      chitin and cellulose are indigestible, and many
      mushrooms accumulate toxins from the environment. As
      top chain predators, so do we.


      Bon apetit!

      Debbie Viess
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