Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript. Recent findings of intact chitin in fossil records suggest surprisingly high recalcitrance of this biopolymer during hydrothermal treatments. We also know in the experience of everyday life that mushroom, cells of which have chitinous cell walls, do not fall apart however long they are simmered. We used in situ optical microscopy to examine chitin and fungal cells with chitinous cell walls during hydrothermal treatments, and obtained direct evidence that they remained undegraded at temperatures well over 200 °C. The results show very hot and compressed water is needed to make mushrooms mushy. Chitin is a linear and nonionic polysaccharide made of N-acetylglucosamine units that are connected via β-1-4 glycosidic linkages1. It is the most abundant organic polymer in the marine environment2 and its annual production amounts to 106–107 tons3. Chitin is us...