Mutagens in larger fungi. I. Forty-eight species screened for mutagenic activity in the Salmonella/microsome assay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Specimens of large fungi (mushrooms) were screened for mutagenic activity by the Salmonella/microsome assay, with strains TA98, TA2637 and TA100. Out of 48 species tested, 37 exhibited a significant but for the most part weak activity. The activity observed in the presence of S9 mix was typically between 0 and 50% of that without, and in no case was the activity increased in the presence of microsomal enzymes. Six metabolites reported to occur in some of the species included in this investigation were also tested. Significant mutagenic activity was found with isovelleral (5) from Lactarius sp., agaritine (3) from Agaricus bisporus and related sp. and β-nitraminoalanine (7) from Agaricus silvaticus. Isovelleral may be a major mutagen in some of the sharp-tasting and mutagenic Russulaceae sp. A. bisporus (cultivated specimen) was weakly mutagenic toward all three strains of S. typhimurium used, and agaritine was weakly active toward TA2637 alone. This implies that this fungus might contain other mutagenic material as well. β-Nitraminoalanine was not found in the particular collection of A. silvaticus tested here. The mutagenicity observed for the fungus in this work may therefore be due to other metabolites. Even though many species found to be mutagenic are used as food, it seems premature to make specific recommendations about eventual health risks. Further information is needed about the chemistry and toxicology of the active compounds as well as about the effects of various methods used in preparing mushrooms for food.


  • Olov Sterner
  • R. Bergman
  • E. Kesler
  • G. Magnusson
  • Lars Nilsson
  • B. Wickberg
  • E. Zimerson
  • G. Zetterberg
External organisations
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-281
Number of pages13
JournalMutation Research/Genetic Toxicology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1982
Publication categoryResearch