Thursday, March 28, 2013

Content Highlights – Death cap (Amanita phalloides)

The death cap is one of the most poisonous mushrooms in the northern hemisphere. However, did you know that food prepared with a death cap is extremely tasty?

Amanita phalloides; this image is under CC-BY-NC-SA of Danish Mycological Society in Europeana

The death cap is medium sized mushroom, with cap 7-15 cm in diameter. It grows throughout the entire temperate zone of Europe, Asia and North Africa. It was carried (probably with tree seedlings) to North America and Australia. This mushroom grows from summer through fall in deciduous or mixed forests. The death cap is responsible for most mushroom poisonings, and even small doses can be very dangerous. Resistance to the poison varies among individuals, so specifying a fatal dose is difficult. The poison - amanitin, damages the liver and kidneys.

Amanita phalloides by František Šaržík from EOL

Initial symptoms occur 8 to 48 hours after ingestion. In this phase, the person experiences fatigue, stomach nausea, dizziness, headaches and feelings of cold, even freezing. The nausea intensifies, stomach aches occur, accompanied by strong retching and watery diarrhea, leading to dehydration, and eventual circulatory failure. This is usually the immediate cause of death in children. If the patient survives this phase, his condition appears to improve (usually the fourth day after ingestion). In the second phase, the kidneys fail, and sometimes the liver as well. Death usually occurs four to twelve days after ingestion. Treatment of death cap poisoning involving infusions with a high concentration of thioacetic acid was invented by the Czech doctor J. Herink.

Amantia from BHL

You can find more about death cap on BLE – Poisonous nature. Stay tuned to us!