BackgroundMushrooms in the genus Agaricus have worldwide distribution and include the economically important species A. bisporus. Some Agaricus species are inedible, including A. placomyces and A. pseudopratensis, which are similar in appearance to certain edible species, yet are known to possess unpleasant odours and induce gastrointestinal problems if consumed. We have studied the chemical composition of these mushrooms using GC-MS.ResultsOur GC-MS studies on the volatile fractions and butanol extracts resulted in the identification of 44 and 34 compounds for A. placomyces and A. pseudopratensis, respectively, including fatty acids and their esters, amino acids, and sugar alcohols. The most abundant constituent in the volatiles and butanol were phenol and urea respectively. We also identified the presence of ergosterol and two Δ7-sterols. In addition, 5α,8α-Epidioxi-24(ξ)-methylcholesta-6,22-diene-3β-ol was isolated for the first time from both mushrooms. Our study is therefore the first report on the chemical composition of these two species.ConclusionThe results obtained contribute to the knowledge of the chemical composition of mushrooms belonging to the Agaricus genus, and provide some explanation for the reported mild toxicity of A. placomyces and A. pseudopratensis, a phenonomenon that can be explained by a high phenol content, similar to that found in other Xanthodermatei species.