Destroying Angels are regarded as one of the deadliest mushrooms by the expert mycologists. These mushrooms are called the destroying angels because of their charming fruiting body with their destructive chemicals. But it is quite fortunate to us that we can recognize this mushroom easily. Like most of the poisonous mushrooms, destroying angels have a ring around their stem and the shape of the cap is very round. It has a beautiful white cap. However, it can be risky if one can’t distinguish the destroying angel mushrooms from the white button mushrooms since both of them are somewhat similar to look at.
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Destroying angel mushrooms are very popular and common across the North America. These mushrooms contain a deadly toxin named amatoxins which causes the gastrointestinal distress like excess nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain within only 5 to 12 hours. With the progression of time, the condition of the victim becomes worse, and eventually dies if no treatment or medicines are taken. Moreover, if the victim even takes the medicines late, then there can be a worse incident like kidney or liver failure.
Why amatoxin is so dangerous?
Amatoxin binds and deactivate a vital enzyme named RNA polymerase II. RNA polymerase II is an essential enzyme which regulates the protein synthesis. Amatoxin deactivates the key enzyme and prevents the DNA transcription process. Even the toxin can generate a serious effect on the brain and in the worst case, it can damage the entire brain. Including the entire gastrointestinal tract and the brain cells, all the living tissues of the body are affected by this toxin.
Surprisingly, only a little amount of this amatoxin like 0.1 mg/kg is regarded as a fatal dose. This amount can be generated from 50 gm of destroying angel mushrooms. According to studies, around 95% of the mushroom related death is caused by amatoxin. However, in some cases, the symptoms may go, and the victim can think that he is recovering. But later, the effects appear with greater force and with a true vengeance. The time is quite enough to destroy the entire liver and brain.
Amanita ocreata and Amanita smithiana are two common destroying angel mushrooms found in the western North America, while the deadliest species Amanita virosa is native to the entire Europe but is introduced to North America too.
How can you recognize Destroying angel?
The diameter of the cap of these mushrooms is 5 to 10 cm and is egg-shaped. The color is pure white and there are no marginal striations. The gills of the Amanita virosa are free, white and crowded. The stem is around 9 to 15 cm tall and you will find a ring or skirt at the higher position. The best way to avoid this deadly toxin is to avoid taking the poisonous mushrooms. Specially avoid the white ones. These mushrooms are regarded as the cousin of Death Cap mushrooms.