The Country Diary of a GenX Woman

Coprinus Cinereus – Poo Parasols

coprinopsis cinereaThese delicate, grey, fluted fungi are spreading over the 2nd compost bay.  They are Coprinus Cinereus (Coprinopsis cinerea), a species of mushroom in the Psathyrellaceae family.   It is known as the gray shag or ink cap as they self digest and degrade into a black sticky mess.   The edges of the cap curl upwards during the day to expose more spores to the wind to help with their dispersal as they mature.  It is mostly found on horse manure, which is where I found it.   It is widely used in medical research as it is easy to grow and has a short life-cycle of 2 weeks.   The actual fruiting body appears overnight and will usually collapse by midday.  Apparently it is edible, but must be used promptly after collecting, so you would have to be quick to get them at their prime.  Considering where they grow, I don’t think I’ll bother.20130615 001

Bioactive compounds Galectins (carbohydrate binding proteins used to slow tumour progression) have been isolated from Coprinus cinereus, the first of this lectin family to be found outside of the animal kingdom (Cooper et al., 1997).

Medicinal properties Antitumor effects. Polysaccharides extracted from the mycelial culture of Coprinopsis cinerea (as Coprinus macrorhizus) and administered intraperitoneally into white mice at a dosage of 300 mg/kg inhibited the growth of Sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich solid cancers by 75% and 80%, respectively (Ohtsuka et al., 1973).20130615 006

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