Biological function of hallucinogens in fungi ?

Tom Volk tjvolk at
Tue Jan 23 10:19:47 EST 1996

Jan Sunde <jansunde at> wrote:

>There is one major flaw to this theory that strikes me, however.
>How can it then be that some species of mushrooms are edible *no matter in which environment 
>they  grow* Of course, the different species of mushrooms are connected to one particular kind 
>of environment, but they can't foresee local differences in, say, concentrations of heavy 
>metals, etc. Mushrooms do not behave, as far as I know, like mussels that accumulates toxins 
>depending on seasonal differences in the local algal flora.

ah, but mushrooms *can* accumulate toxins from the 
environment.  certain Laccaria species have been shown to 
accumiulate arsenic.  And there was a major study on the 
accumulation of radiation and metals  by the fungi after 
the chernobyl nuclear accident in the USSR. The lichens in 
Scandinavia certainly accumulated radioactive metals, 
hence the danger to the reinderr that ate them and the 
people who ate the reindeer. As far as I know there is a 
wide variability in the amount of toxins produced bya  
particular species depending on the strain and the 
environmental conditions.  I for one will not eat mushrooms 
from fertilized and herbicided lawns and especially golf 

OTOH, Some fungi are apparently able to exclude 
environmental toxins, and some fungi have the mechanisms 
that happen to produce toxic chemicals in a wide variety of 
environments.  But not enough study has been done in this 
area to give a definitive answer.  maybe someone else 


********************************************  (0)  
Tom Volk                                     (000)
Center for Forest Mycology Research,        (00000)
Forest Products Lab, Madison Wisconsin       (000)
& UW- Madison Dept. of Botany                (000)
tjvolk at                      | |
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