Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Deadly Chinese Mushrooms

31.01.2012
Mushroom amino acids revealed as cause of deaths in Yunnan province

Was the consumption of toxic mushrooms responsible for a series of unusual deaths in China’s Yunnan province? A team led by Ji-Kai Liu (Beijing) has now found further proof of this hypothesis. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the researchers now present two unusual toxic amino acids that they found in extracts from the suspect mushrooms.


Over the last 30 years, more than 260 otherwise perfectly healthy people in Yunnan province in southwestern China died suddenly for no apparent reason. This phenomenon was designated as “sudden unexplained death” and mainly occurred in time- and location-related groupings in the rainy period between June and August in locations between 1800 and 2400 m above sea level.

Epidemiological studies in 2005 proposed that the collection of mushrooms may have been a risk factor; later studies lent weight to the hypothesis that consumption of a previously unknown type of mushroom, which the researchers named “Trogia venenata Zhu L. Yang” for its discoverer, was responsible for the deaths.

The scientists of the Kunming Institute of Botany and the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention have now isolated and characterized three toxic compounds from the fruiting bodies of these mushroom in order to further prove their hypothesis. The compounds include one previously known amino acid, ã-guanidinobutyric acid, as well as two previously unknown and unusual toxic amino acids.

A crude extract from the mushrooms was separated by liquid chromatography and the toxic amino acids were isolated. Various spectroscopic techniques were used to identify their structures. The compounds were then synthesized in the laboratory and compared to the natural products. The two newly discovered amino acids have a terminal ethynyl group in common, a triple bond between two carbon atoms.

The toxicity of the two amino acids was confirmed in trials with mice. In addition, the scientists analyzed a blood sample from one individual who died from “sudden unexplained death” and detected one of the toxic mushroom amino acids.

All previous observations indicate that the mushroom Trogia venenata is the cause for the unexplained deaths. A campaign to warn inhabitants of Yunnan against the consumption of the toxic mushrooms has since been successful: No further cases of “sudden unexplained death” were recorded in 2010 and 2011.

About the Author
Dr Ji-Kai Liu is the Professor of Natural Products Chemitry at KIB as well as the Director of State Key Laboratory for Phytochemistry, and has been working on the medicinal chemistry of higher fungi for over 15 years. He is the recipient of National Award of China.
Author: Ji-Kai Liu, Kunming Institute of Botany (China), mailto:jkliu@mail.kib.ac.cn
Title: Evidence for the Natural Toxins from the Mushroom Trogia venenata as a Cause of Sudden Unexplained Death in Yunnan Province, China

Angewandte Chemie International Edition, Permalink to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anie.201106502

Ji-Kai Liu | Angewandte Chemie
Further information:
http://pressroom.angewandte.org.

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Superresolution live-cell imaging provides unexpected insights into the dynamic structure of mitochondria
18.02.2020 | Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf

nachricht Blood and sweat: Wearable medical sensors will get major sensitivity boost
18.02.2020 | Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

Im Focus: Skyrmions like it hot: Spin structures are controllable even at high temperatures

Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices

The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...

Im Focus: Making the internet more energy efficient through systemic optimization

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.

Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.

Im Focus: New synthesis methods enhance 3D chemical space for drug discovery

After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.

Im Focus: Quantum fluctuations sustain the record superconductor

Superconductivity approaching room temperature may be possible in hydrogen-rich compounds at much lower pressures than previously expected

Reaching room-temperature superconductivity is one of the biggest dreams in physics. Its discovery would bring a technological revolution by providing...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Around 70 Laureates set to meet with young scientists from approx. 100 countries

12.02.2020 | Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Movement of a liquid droplet generates over 5 volts of electricity

18.02.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Powering the future: Smallest all-digital circuit opens doors to 5 nm next-gen semiconductor

18.02.2020 | Information Technology

Studying electrons, bridging two realms of physics: connecting solids and soft matter

18.02.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>