Volume 89 Issue 13 | pp. 38-39
Issue Date: March 28, 2011

The Angel’s Wing Mystery

An unstable amino acid may have something to do with deadly mushroom poisoning
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: mushroom, poisoning, angel’s wing, Pleurocybella porrigens, pleurocybellaziridine, aziridine amino acid

With stalkless white fans spreading like scattered petals on decaying wood, angel’s wing mushrooms must appear heavenly to mushroom hunters. But in 2004, the ethereal-looking fungus was linked to 17 deaths in Japan from acute encephalopathy, a type of degenerative neurological condition characterized by lesions in the brain.

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare traced the source of the poisoning to the angel’s wing mushroom—also known as Pleurocybella porrigens—but the cause of the encephalopathy . . .

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