Everyone will probably know the video game ‘Super Mario’ series and the symbolic mushroom in Super Mario series. Which is this mushroom on the right. In the videogame, this mushroom makes Mario grow up into an adult in split seconds. Now my question is “Is there any actual mushroom species with the effect of promoting growth?” The second question is “ What would happen if someone eats a mushroom that looks like it?”

Super Mario mushroom: Something that saves everyone from danger.

Is there any mushroom that gives a growth boost?

Unfortunately, there isn’t any magical mushroom that gives an instant growth boost. But we can still take a look into the nutrient of mushrooms. Among the nutrients of a mushroom, the ones that contribute to building up body structure are chitin and protein.  Chitin is usually used in building exoskeletons of insects like beetles and butterflies. Protein is used in building muscles and developing brain cells. When dehydrated, a typical mushroom has as much protein as chicken. Lentinus edodes, also known as shiitake or pyogo-buseot in korean, is a mushroom very rich in protein and necessary amino acids. L. edodes has 18 types of amino acids, which includes 7 out of 8 ideal proteins for humans. 

L. edode (Shiitake)(Pyogo-buseot): That one in the soup.

Then what would happen if someone eats a mushroom that looks like it? What would happen to Mario after eating hundreds of this mushroom?

Surprisingly, there actually is a model for this mushroom. It is Amanita muscaria, known as fly agaric. It looks almost alike to the Super Mario mushroom. The point that should be highlighted about this mushroom is that it is toxic. When ingested(when eaten) A. muscaria gives hallucination effects. 

A. muscaria : The dangerous one. Be sure not to eat these.

So Mario, who is frequently taking this mushroom in the video game, might be experiencing various hallucinations. Instant growth might be one of the hallucinations he is going through. However,the fatal dose for A. muscaria is noted as 15 caps(15 mushrooms). Regarding this, Mario might be a superhuman who is immune to toxic ,which kind of makes sense. 

<strong>Brian Park</strong>
Brian Park

Student of NLCS Jeju
Chair of NLCS Jeju Botanist society

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