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ARCHIVE:  October 21, 2003

Mushrooms and aeruginascin

Dear Dr. Shulgin:

What are the effects and the chemical composition of the compound aeruginascin? There is very little information to be had from the net. --Paul

Dear Paul:

There may indeed be very little information to be had about aeruginascin on the net. And I can assure you that there is also very little to be found in the scientific literature. It was reported to be a sizable component of the psychedelic mushroom, Inocybe aeruginascens, along with the well-known alkaloids psilocybin and baeocystin.

In 1983, a sample of this mushroom was misidentified as Marasmius oreades and eaten by the mistaken mycologist. The ensuing trip was distinctly Psilocybe-like, and analysis showed that psilocybin was present. A survey of several additional Inocybe species showed some others contained psilocybin, and others contained the cholinergic drug muscarine, best known from the Amanita muscaria.

Similar amounts of baeocystin were found to be present (a homologue of psilocybin found in some dozen mushrooms including Psilocybe baeocystis) and, a couple of years later, there was a report of a third indole alkaloid. This was named aeruginascin, and is characterized by thin layer chromatography, but as of the present its structure has not been published. The discoverer, Jochen Gartz, has stated that its action is a modifying of the intensity of the effects of the psilocybin present, leading to a euphoric mood accompanying the consumption of Inocybe aeruginascens.

I know Jochen rather well. I will write to him and ask for a few milligrams of the TLC separation, so that I can obtain a HPLC triple quad mass spectrum and make a guess as to the molecular composition. Its solubility (in water, methanol and acetic acid) suggests that the structure might be very close to that of psilocybin and baeocystin.

-- Dr. Shulgin

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