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Mushroom Toxicity

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  1. Introduction
  2. The body of a fungus
  3. Nontoxic mushrooms
  4. Conclusion
  5. References

Mushrooms are often considered the vermin of the vegetable world, likened to snakes, slugs, and worms. Some are regarded as mystical and others as delicacies. The location of tasty morels is passed from generation to generation, closely guarded from strangers. Each autumn and spring, foragers scour the woods for known delicacies, and new ones untried. Some mushroom foragers search for "little brown mushrooms," not for their taste, but to evoke hallucinations.

[...] Fresh mushroom specimens should be transported in a paper bag rather than a plastic container to limit the effects of humidity. Finally, precise identification of even a good specimen can be difficult and should be done by an expert. Mycologists can be contacted through a poison center, university, museum, or commercial mushroom grower. In difficult cases, spores can be obtained from emesis or gastric emptying procedures. Specimens should be refrigerated while awaiting analysis. More specific diagnosis can be made through TLC or RIA techniques. [...]

[...] may remain firmly attached to the mushroom, or only residual spots may remain, depending on the species of mushroom and environmental conditions. The emerging cap takes on a shape consistent with the specific species, ranging from cylindric to convex to funnel shaped. Gills, located under the caps, contain the spore-producing bodies. Some gills are covered with a second membrane or partial veil, later pulling away to form an annulus or ring midway down the stalk of the mushroom. Gills may be attached firmly to the stalk, even running down the stalk, or only to the cap itself (free gills). [...]

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