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Deadly mushroom toxin exposed

Researchers have isolated and identified a muscle-destroying compound

By
6:08pm, May 27, 2009

A toadstool toxin that spurs convulsions, nausea, impaired speech and muscle stiffness — and has led to several deaths in Japan in recent years — has been isolated and identified by a team of scientists. The small molecule is familiar to synthetic chemists but had never been isolated from a natural source, researchers report online May 24 in Nature Chemical Biology.

Acute poisoning that leads to a breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue — a syndrome known as rhabdomyolysis — is not often caused by a mushroom and is quite different from the effects of toxins produced by Amanita species, says Petteri Nieminen, a specialist in physiology

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