by Michael W. Beug Email: beugm@evergreen.edu
The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA
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Slide 19.
Coprinus atramentarius , now Coprinopsis atramentaria, the Inky Cap, contains coprine, a Class D toxin (Poisindex V). The onset of symptoms is related to the consumption of alcohol three hours to as long as 5 days after the meal of mushrooms. It is believed that the coprine must first sensitize the body to alcohol and thus consumption of alcohol before or with the meal is safe. However, I know of two cases where even consumption of alcohol just before the meal lead to a reaction. In any case, only a few individuals are susceptible.

There are many species of mushrooms that most people can eat with no trouble at all, but which cause mild to severe gastric distress in some individuals. The mechanism of action of coprine, a cyclopropylglutamine, is identical to that of disulfiram, known as Atabuse â , a drug given to keep alcoholics off the bottle. Research was conducted on Beagles to see if coprine would be a suitable substitute. However, coprine was found to produce sterility and testicular damage in Beagles. Consequently I would think twice before consuming large meals of the Inky Cap, though one would have to eat staggering quantities of Inky Caps to match the levels of coprine fed to dogs in the tests. The toxin coprine is also found in Coprinus quadrifidus, Coprinus vareigatus, Coprinus insignes and Coprinus fuscescens. All of these species with coprine have been transferred to the new genus Coprinopsis.

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