An unusual mushroom that literally engages in self-criticism (6 photos)

Category: Nature, PEGI 16
9 January 2024

In addition to the well-known mushrooms, which the majority of the population encounters in already processed form on supermarket shelves, there are truly mysterious ones in nature. One of them is the ink mushroom.

In fact, the dung beetle, represented by a large number of species, the most common of which are white and gray, is a saprotroph. That is, it uses dead organic matter and excrement for nutrition.

The fungus is quite common and is often found in large clusters on lawns, flower beds, and beds with fertile soil. He likes to settle in garbage dumps and near compost pits - there is an abundance of food there.

White dung beetle is considered a delicacy in many countries. Europeans even respectfully call the mushroom a lawyer's wig. With a little imagination, you can really see in the tangled threads a resemblance to the fairly greasy artificial strands that the lawyers of antiquity sported.

But there is one thing: the mushroom is edible and tasty only at an early stage of development. And this period is very short. Soon after the neat snow-white caps hatch from the bowels of the earth, they begin to darken catastrophically quickly. This is how Coprinus comatus starts the process of autolysis - self-digestion of dead cells and tissues under the influence of their own hydrolytic enzymes that destroy structural molecules.

Therefore, gourmets need to act very quickly: they have literally a few hours to collect and process. You can’t even store dung beetles, since autolysis continues even in a cool place when cut.

There are no restrictions in terms of further preparation. Mushrooms can be boiled, fried, stewed, salted, pickled and more.

And here another unusual property of the dung beetle emerges. The fact is that it is not recommended to combine it with alcohol in order to avoid the so-called coprine syndrome. It manifests itself as poisoning from edible mushrooms when consumed simultaneously with alcoholic beverages.

The action is due to the content of the amino acid coprine in dung beetles. You can enjoy a mushroom dish in its usual form, but no, no, with a glass. Otherwise, intoxication with all that follows in the form of perspiration, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and headache. By the way, alcohol should be avoided at least a day before eating these mushrooms and not drunk at least a day after.

This property has long been used by women who tried to wean their lovers from regular libations, and now the effect of modern drugs for the treatment of alcoholism is based on a similar principle.

By the way, the mushroom got its name for a reason. In the Middle Ages, the substance formed after self-dissolution was added to ink. When written, the frozen spores formed a unique pattern that could easily be seen through a magnifying glass and remembered. Special ink was used to sign important documents, especially financial ones, to prevent signature forgery.

In general, the mushroom is outstanding and correct in all respects: not only does it utilize itself, it also sends useful substances back to the mycelium to provide food for new generations of dung beetles.

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