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InterestJRE #1035 - Paul Stamets - about mycologi, bioremediation and medicinal fungi

Norlander on November 09 2017 03:25:54
A great podcast about mycologi. However, around the 1H:43M mark the conversation becomes pretty weird for a moment, Reddit went digging into this immediately, and it seems to be related to the Hydrazine and Agaritine present in Agaricus bisporus, a.k.a Portobello/Champignon, the regular mushroom you buy in the supermarket. Those compounds somewhat break down with heat, so never eat those things raw again! smiley
Vuzman on November 09 2017 15:25:32
That was ridiculous, and that guy is ridiculous! (My opinion is based on seeing a few minutes of the podcast, and his hat smiley).

I thought it was common knowledge that you shouldn't eat mushrooms raw, but more because of bacteria and digestion (shroom cell walls are made of chitin, and are more easily digested when cooked). Also, they usually taste better cooked.

Agaritine is probably not something people should worry about (there's no Hydrazine in mushrooms; Agaritine is a Hydrazine-derivative). Agaritine is just suspected of being a (weak) carcinogen in humans, and it seems that not just cooking, but also refrigerating, freezing, and exposure to air degrades the Agaritine, which means that store-bought shrooms are probably safe to eat raw. That being said, better to cook them, to kill bacteria, and improve nutrition and taste.
Norlander on November 09 2017 19:54:16
Apart from those few minutes discussing Agaricus he was completely normal and incredibly informative, also that hat is awesome for a mycologist, it's 100% made from fungi.

As for hydrazine, go tell this journal they are wrong then, oh and this one, and this one. For those not bothering with clicking on links, those are the following:
Carcinogenesis vol.18 no.8 pp.1603–1608, 1997
Food Additives & Contaminants Volume 23, 2006 - Issue 11
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Volume 5, 1979 - Issue 2-3: Liver Carcinogenesis

There is β‐N‐[γ‐L(+)‐glutamyl]‐4‐hydroxymethylphenylhydrazine (agaritine) and 4‐hydroxymethylphenylhydrazine in Agaricus bisporus. The first one is derived from a hydrazine, the latter is the hydrazine it's derived from.
Vuzman on November 10 2017 10:09:01
Ok, maybe I should listen to the rest.

RE hydrazine, I was just pointing out that Hydrazine is a term used both for a specific compound (the rocket fuel) and a class of substances (hydrazines) of which Agaritine is one. And sure, there may be/are other hydrazines in mushrooms, but conflating it with rocket fuel is sensationalist and just as misleading as saying that gun powder components are found in certain foods, and you might be eating them on a daily basis!
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