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This type of fungus can be deadly: here is which one



If you are interested in the subject of mushrooms, this article is for you. Today we will talk about Amanita phalloides, the ancestor of all highly deadly poisonous mushrooms, the ingestion of which causes severe poisoning syndromes, with death in the vast majority of cases (70-80%). Amanita phalloides causes death even after a single ingestion of half the cap of the mushroom. The danger of Amanita phalloides also lies in the extraordinary ability to “merge” and take on countless appearances. Due to the marked polymorphism, this mushroom appears similar to other species, analogous even to those mushrooms belonging to totally different genera.

For this reason, the risk of creating confusion with other mushrooms unfortunately turns out to be exaggeratedly high. In common parlance, Amanita phalloides is known by many other names including: angel of death, bastard ovolo, Agaricus phalloides, greenish tignosa. Instead, the species name (phalloides) is made up of two Greek words: phallòs (meaning phallus) and eîdos (meaning shape), a name that suits the mushroom perfectly, given of the characteristic phallic conformation of its stem. What causes the dangerous toxicity of this particular mushroom?

Toxicity of this type is due to two chemical constituents: amantines and phalloidins. Amantines (ie alpha and beta) are cyclic peptides responsible for the selective blocking of the enzyme Rna-polymerase: whose average lethal dose; while phalloidins are mycotoxins with a peptide ring structure responsible for liver and gastrointestinal damage, caused by inhibition of DNA transcription in liver cells. Heat treatment fails to kill toxins because they are thermostable substances, also resistant to cooking. How to recognize this mushroom?

To identify and verify that you have picked up Amanita phalloides, there is a really quite simple method: in the meantime, just crush a fragment of mushroom in a sheet of newspaper and put a few drops of hydrochloric acid on the print left, being particularly careful to mark the entire outline with a pencil before the moisture left by the fungus dries out. If after carrying out this simple and quick procedure, you notice the formation of a blue halo already after 5 or 10 minutes, this is undoubtedly the unequivocal sign of the presence of amatoxin: by doing this, you will have certainty total and confirm that the fungus is the very poisonous Amanita phalloides which must be avoided at all costs.

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