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Chemical tests in mushroom identification

Of the Chemical tests in mushroom identification the most useful are Melzer's and Potassium hydroxide. A list of tests follows.



Household ammonia can be used.

Iron Salts

Used in Russula identification.

Meixner Test for Amatoxins

Uses concentrated hydrochloric acid and newspaper to test for the deadly poisonous amatoxins found in some species of Amanita, Lepiota, and Galerina.

Melzer's Reagent

Melzer's Reagent can be used to test spores for amyloid, nonamyloid, dextrinoid.

  • Spores that stain bluish-gray to bluish-black are amyloid
  • Spores that stain brown to reddish-brown are dextrinoid


In the genus Lyophyllum the lamellae usually bluing with Paradiaminobenzaldehyde (PDAB).


A 2-3% aqueous solution of phenol gives a color change in some species when applied to cap or stem.

Potassium Hydroxide

A 5-10% solution of Potassium hydroxide (KOH) gives a color change in some species:

  • In Agaricus, some species turn yellow with KOH
  • Distinctive change for some species of Cortinarius

Schaeffer's Test

Uses aniline and nitric acid on Agaricus.


Made from Sulphuric acid (H2SO4) and vanillin (vanilla). Used in Russula indentification.


  • Arora, David "Mushrooms Demystified" 2nd Edition, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 1986
  • Jordan, Michael "The Encyclopedia of Fungi of Britain and Europe" Frances Lincoln 2004
  • Kuo, Michael "100 Edible Mushrooms", University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor 2007
  • Largent, David L., Baroni, Timothy J. "How to Identify Mushrooms to Genus VI: Modern Genera" Mad River Press 1988

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chemical_tests_in_mushroom_identification". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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