The Country Diary of a GenX Woman

Fabulous Fungus

20130513 005This fungus has emerged just outside the carpoart and is over 50cm wide.  It is even more fabulous than I thought it was, because it apparently glows in the dark and could be used in the treatment of cancer tumours.  It is the Omphalotus nidiformis or Ghost Fungus and according to wikipedia it is poisonous, with consumption leading to severe cramps and vomiting.  The toxic properties of the mushroom are attributed to compounds called illudins which since 1990 have been studied as a potential anti-cancer drug.  Unfortunately some clinical trials of a derivative  had to be suspended after unexpected retinal toxicity.

The chemical structure of illudins differs from that of other conventional20130519 040chemotherapeutic agents. While illudins are toxic to most tumorcells after prolonged exposure (> 48 hr), with shorter exposure times (>2 hr), they show selective toxicity for human myelocytic leukemia, lung, ovarian, and breast carcinoma cells of various species of origin.

An avid fungi blogger has a good description on his page and advises that the bio-luminescence is due to a chemical reaction between fungal enzymes and oxygen.   I will have to go out after dark and see if it is glowing.


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Inspired by The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady