Dried Armillariella Mellea poisonous?

7seas at olympus.net 7seas at olympus.net
Mon Sep 11 01:48:25 EST 1995

Subject:  Dried Armillariella Mellea poisonous.

Armillaria Mellea contains a poison that is destroyed on cooking
but is concentrated with drying.

I was fortunate, when gathering for the table, to find a large fruiting
of Armillaria Mellea and I gathered about five pounds.  We ate these
mushrooms cooked with no reactions and then I decided to dry the remainder
for future use.

When they were dry my wife took one off the drying rack and ate it.  She said,
"Boy, that was delicious."  She then ate a second.  Later, after recovering from 
the poisoning she explained that shortly after eating the second one she had 
experienced a strong after taste.

While packaging the dried mushrooms, I also sampled one and experienced
the strong acidic after taste.  Within three hours we both experienced nausea,
general digestive upset, a slight increase in heart rate, and in my case chills.
All symptoms were gone within 12 hours.

I have been gathering and studying mushrooms since 1973.  I am sure of my
identification and can provide samples to anyone who doubts the identity or
needs them to look for the toxin.  This is my only personal experience with
mushroom posoning and I must admit it was a stupid mistake.  On the other
hand, the only guide that indicates that these mushrooms must be cooked is
the Audubon guide by Lincoff.  Millar in "Mushrooms of America" and Smith in
"A Field Guide to Westerm Mushrooms" simply list them as choice.  David Aurora
in "Mushrooms Demystified" and Groves in "edible and poisonous mushrooms of
canada" both point out that the bitter flavour is removed by cooking.  All of the
guides wisely state that all mushrooms should be cooked and not eaten raw.

These were large specimens and they dried to a very small size so we fooled
ourselves when we tried them dry into thinking we were eating a small amount
of mushroom.  In addition some toxins, such as Monomethylhydrazine are volatile
and destroyed by drying.

I would suggest to individuals revising or writing new field guides that they
list Armillariella Mellea as poisonous when raw or dried, and choice only when
well cooked.

Does anyone have any idea what the agent that might have caused
the poisoning is?


otto at olympus.net
(360) 385-1956

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