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The "green agaric" may be harmful

35/2001, 31.10.2001

BgVV advises against eating this edible mushroom

As only revealed recently, in the last eight years 12 people became seriously ill after eating the wild mushroom Tricholoma equestre, known as the green agaric. Three of them died. Research results of French scientists indicate that the mushroom can trigger rhabdomyolysis in certain sensitive subjects. This disease causes the disintegration of muscle cells which leads to myalgia, muscular asthenia and fatigue and, as the condition worsens, even to death as a consequence of acute renal failure or cardiovascular collapse.

The symptoms of muscle cell disintegration were observed after the consumption of several meals consisting of the green agaric. The patients showed symptoms of muscular asthenia and neuralgia of the thighs. This was followed by destruction of the muscle cells. The increased release of specific enzymes causes the muscle cell disintegration which is probably triggered by the constituents of the mushroom. This was indicated by feed tests with mice conducted by French research scientists (published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 45, No 11, September 2001, Internet:

These studies confirmed the suspicion that the green agaric may cause rhabdomyolysis when consumed in larger volumes. Up to now, it was not possible to establish which ingredient in the mushroom is responsible for this effect.

The green agaric is also to be found in Germany. It grows between August and November in sandy soil in foliage and coniferous forests, preferably close to pine trees. Its cap is 5-9 cm wide and yellowish-green to reddish-brown in colour. The lamellae are yellow, the stem is slightly lighter in colour than the cap. The flesh of the green agaric is yellowish-white and firm.

BgVV advises against eating the green agaric until the exact causes of the fatalities have been established. Where there is the slightest suspicion of mushroom poisoning or malaise after eating mushrooms, a doctor or a poison control centre should be consulted. If available, the mushrooms, any waste after cleaning the mushrooms or leftovers from the meal should be kept and shown to the doctor or expert. BgVV recommends only eating mushrooms which are clearly known and recognisable as edible mushrooms. The BgVV leaflet "Poisonous mushrooms" provides assistance in this respect. It costs DM 10 and can be ordered from the BgVV Press and Public Relations Office.


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