Melzer's Reagent

Tryggvi Emilsson emilsson at
Wed Sep 6 01:02:27 EST 1995

"B. Taylor" <btaylor at> writes:

>Hello again.

>I'm interested in mixing up some Melzer's Reagent for helping with my 
>mushroom identifications. Unfortunately, one of the components is a 
>controlled substance (chloral hydrate).  Since I do not have a lab or 
>research project, I can not buy it.  Can anyone tell me where I can obtain
>pre-mixed Melzer's Reagent?? 

>Thanks again.

>btaylor at


Does anybody know the purpose of the chloral hydrate in Meltzer's reagent???
The colors produced (blue/reddish) are due to reaction of the tri-iodide
anion (I3-) and starches or dextrin in the sample.It seems that the chloral
hydrate is only a solvent in the brew.If so,it seems that some other solvent
could be found,free of the restrictions of chloral hydrate.Alcohols,glycols
"glymes"(eg.brake fluid),might be adequate substitutes.
It seems ridiculous that amateur mycologists should need a DEA permit to
procure materials for a simple test,described in every field guide.
Has anybody experimented with alternative recipes?

Tryggvi Emilsson

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