Edible and Non-Edible Wild Mushrooms: Nutrition, Toxicity and Strategies for Recognition
Mushrooms can be found extensively in a variety of natural environments and visual identification of mushroom species is well established. Some mushrooms are known because of their nutritional and therapeutical properties. Some species are known all over the world because of their toxicity that causes fatal accidents every year mainly due to misidentification. Some of the edible mushrooms are Ganoderma spp, Cantharellus spp, Agaricus spp, Pleurotus spp, Russula spp, Auricularia spp and Termitomyces spp; but the ornamentals are the beautifully ringed Microporous spp. Amanita spp, Lepiota cristata, Lepiota brunneoincarnata and Inocybe asterospora, C o p r i n u s s p p are among the most important species responsible for mushroom poisoning. Morphological and chemical analyses for mushrooms are occasionally required in forensic science practice. In this work, the characteristics of the representative toxic mushrooms and some chemical methods for their toxins are presented. Mushrooms are identified traditionally by their appearance, taste, colour, odour, presence of scales etc. However, further studies using modern methods of characterization involving molecular tools are required to improve on such strategies.