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Fungal Toxins

What are fungal toxins - human and animal contexts

What do fungal toxins do

Fungi Toxic to Humans

Species eaten by animals are not necessarily safe for humans.

Not all fungi in the same genus will contain the toxins listed.

Species often only able to be identified through microscopic features such as spores.

Amanita species - Amatoxins and phallotoxins contain substances that can cause severe damage to liver, kidneys and intestines by preventing protein synthesis in cells.Symptom onset: 6 - 24 hours

Amanita species - ibotenic acid - contain hallucinogens that cause LSD like hallucinations. 

Symptom onset: 

*Only some fungi in the same genus will contain the toxins listed.

Clitocybe species - Muscarine - sweating, salivation, lachrymators. Symptom onset: 30 min - 2 hours

*Only some fungi in the same genus will contain the toxins listed.

Conocybe species - Amatoxins and phallotoxins contain substances that can cause severe damage to liver, kidneys and intestines by preventing protein synthesis in cells.Symptom onset: 6 - 24 hours

Conocybe species - Psilocybin and psilocin - contain hallucinogens that cause LSD like hallucinations.

*Only some fungi in the same genus will contain the toxins listed.

Coprinus species contain toxin coprine which permits only partial breakdown of alcohol into acetaldehyde which accumulates. Symptom onset: Up to 5 days after taking alcohol

Cortinarius species - Orellanine - causes severe kidney damage.

Symptom onset: 10-17 days

Galerina speciesAmatoxins and phallotoxins contain substances that can cause severe damage to liver, kidneys and intestines by preventing protein synthesis in cells. Symptom onset: 6 - 24 hours

Gymnopilus species - Psilocybin and psilocin - contain hallucinogens that cause LSD like hallucinations. *Only some fungi in the same genus will contain the toxins listed.

Gyromitra species - Gyromitrin - destroys cells.  Symptom onset:

Lepiota species - Amatoxins and phallotoxins contain substances that can cause severe damage to liver, kidneys and intestines by preventing protein synthesis in cells. Symptom onset: 6 - 24 hours

Panaeolus species - Psilocybin and psilocin - contain hallucinogens that cause LSD like hallucinations.

*Only some fungi in the same genus will contain the toxins listed.

Psilocybe species - Psilocybin and psilocin - contain hallucinogens that cause LSD like hallucinations.

*Only some fungi in the same genus will contain the toxins listed.

Other than toxins: 

Mushrooms may cause allergic reactions.

Mushrooms may contain bacteria.

Mushrooms may cause indigestion issues if too many are consumed due to indigestable cell walls.

Differences between Agaricus genus and Amanita genus:

                                      Agaricus                                      Amanita

Immature gills                 Pale pink                                     Usually white, may be very pale pink (image).

Mature gills                     Dark brown                                 Usually white

Spore colour                   Brown                                         White or cream

Ring on stem                  Present                                       Present or absent

Volva                              Absent                                        Present

Habit                              Saprotroph (decomposer)            Mycorrhizal (on soil, with trees)

Source: Benjamin, D.R. (1995 ) Mushrooms : poisons and panaceas : a handbook for naturalists, mycologists, and physicians, New York : W.H. Freeman.

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