POISONOUS AND HALLUCINOGENIC MUSHROOMS
by Michael W. Beug Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA
It is unlikely that Cortinarius semisanguineus , shown here, contains the Class B toxin. To be safe, I would not eat any small brownish Cortinarius species. The poisonous ingredient in Cortinarius rubellus is believed to be either orellanine, a bypyridyl compound with a structure similar to the herbicide paraquat, or cortinarin, a cyclopeptide. The thermostable toxin causes acute kidney failure, though the liver is rarely affected. Toxic Cortinarius species display a strong turquoise or blue fluorescence under UV light. Biopsy samples from poisoning victims also display this fluoresence. This is best observed with a 380 nm UV lamp in a darkened room, but be certain to wear glasses to protect your eyes from the UV light. Observation of fluorescence is clearly the easiest way to check for suspect toxins, as identification of many species of Cortinarius is very difficult.