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Mushroom Polysaccharides as a Potential Prebiotics

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Prebiotics are considering as non-digestible food ingredients which stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. It mainly consists of the dietary fibers and oligosaccharides. They are having the beneficial effects like gut health maintenance, cancer inhibition, immunopotentiation, cholesterol removal, prevention of obesity. One of the potential sources of the prebiotics is mushroom polysaccharides. Mushroom fruiting body contains high amount of polysaccharides i.e. lentinan, β-1,3 glucan, β-1,6 glucan, grifolan and its showed multiple health benefits i.e. immunosuppressive, anticancer, hypertension, diabetes, stimulate the probiotics. Hence these fruiting bodies extracts extends their use for the human health.
International Journal of Health Sciences & Research ( 77
Vol.3; Issue: 8; August 2013
International Journal of Health Sciences and Research ISSN: 2249-9571
Review Article
Mushroom Polysaccharides as a Potential Prebiotics
Monali Bhakta, Prasant Kumar*
C.G. Bhakta Institute of Biotechnology, Faculty of Applied Science,
UKA Tarsadia University, Bardoli, Surat, Gujarat, India
*Correspondence Email:
Received: 10/05//2013 Revised: 18/06/2013 Accepted: 04/07/2013
Prebiotics are considering as non-digestible food ingredients which stimulate the growth of beneficial
bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. It mainly consists of the dietary fibers and oligosaccharides. They are
having the beneficial effects like gut health maintenance, cancer inhibition, immunopotentiation,
cholesterol removal, prevention of obesity. One of the potential sources of the prebiotics is mushroom
polysaccharides. Mushroom fruiting body contains high amount of polysaccharides i.e. lentinan, β-1,3
glucan, β-1,6 glucan, grifolan and its showed multiple health benefits i.e. immunosuppressive, anticancer,
hypertension, diabetes, stimulate the probiotics. Hence these fruiting bodies extracts extends their use for
the human health.
Keywords: Prebiotics, Mushroom, Polysaccharides, Probiotics.
Prebiotics are defined as non-
digestible oligosaccharides and
polysaccharides that promote the growth of
the beneficial bacteria in the gastrointestinal
tract and exert the antagonist effect on
opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria. [1]
The term prebiotics was coined by Gibson
and Roberfroid. Gibson and his coworkers
in 1995 given the concept of prebiotics by
mentioning the following criteria viz.
resistance to gastric acidity, gastrointestinal
absorption, and selective stimulation of
growth of beneficial bacteria reside in the
gastrointestinal tract. Various prebiotics
gained importance in market such as inulin,
fructo-oligosaccharides, galacto-
oligosaccharides, lactulose, polydextrose.
[2]The other emerging prebiotics are
isomalto oligosaccharides, xylo
oligosaccharides and lactitol.
Due to westernization in our diet and
high consumption of carbohydrate rich diet
and soft drink etc. leads to various metabolic
diseases such as overweight, obesity,
diabetes, coronary disease, cancer. [3,4] Due
to the poor nutrition, tobacco and alcohol
consumption, there is increase in the
morbidity and mortality. Hence there has
been increase in the demand of the
Benefits of the prebiotics [5,6]
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Vol.3; Issue: 8; August 2013
1. It promotes the growth of beneficial
bacteria and discourages the
overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria.
2. Slows absorption of glucose and
reduce insulin resistance improving
blood sugar.
3. Improves lipid profile, lowering
LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
while raising HDL cholesterol which
may reduce the risk of coronary heart
4. Prevents inflammation of the
intestinal lining and leaky gut
syndrome. It prevents or improves
chronic inflammation.
5. Helps to regulate the immune system
preventing infections and
autoimmune disorders like allergies,
asthma and eczema and serious
autoimmune diseases.
6. Stimulates intestinal fermentation of
soluble fiber into short chain fatty
acids like propionate and butyrate,
which may be beneficial and provide
nutrients to mucosal lining of
gastrointestinal tract.
7. Prebiotics are beneficial to Crohn's
disease through production of short
chain fatty acids to nourish the colon
walls, and beneficial to ulcerative
colitis through reduction of hydrogen
sulfide gas due to reduction of
sulfate-producing bacteria.
8. Potential effects on calcium and
other mineral absorption, bowel pH,
reduction of colorectal cancer risk,
inflammatory bowel disorder and
intestinal irregularity.
Mechanism of prebiotic
The impact of prebiotics on the
organism is indirect, because prebiotics is
not digested by host metabolic enzymes but
the microbes present in the gastrointestinal
tracts digest the substrate and in turn helps
to improve the beneficial microorganism‟s
counts. [3]It is thought, that molecular
structure of prebiotics is important taking
into consideration the physiological effects,
and that it determines which
microorganisms are actually able to use that
prebiotics. [7] The most important function of
prebiotic action is its influence on the
microorganism‟s growth and number in the
large bowel. The tests have been conducted
in order to investigate the potential
pathogenic and anticancer action of
prebiotics, their ability to decrease the
presence of large bowel diseases. [8] A lot of
different potential beneficial influences on
human organisms are being sought, and
those are, among the others: increase of the
volume and improvement of stool moisture,
lowering of the cholesterol level, decrease of
the amount long chain fatty acids in bowels,
decrease of pH in bowels, increase of
mineral compounds absorption and raised
short chain fatty acids production. [9]
Mushroom: Mushroom term is not
botanically accepted but it is generally
known as „Fruiting body of macro fungus.
[10] Fruiting body means the spore producing
organ formed by mycelium and has stripes
which have a cap on the top. There are many
varieties of gilled fungi, with or without
Structure of mushroom: Mushroom is a
fruiting body consisting of cap, gills and
stem. These structures are described in detail
as follows. The structure of mushroom is
shown in the figure 1.
Fig1. Structure of mushroom.
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The cap: It can be shaped differently
depending on the species and the stage of
growth. It can be conical, flat or even
spherical. [11] The surface can be smooth,
hairy or carry scab like fragments which are
usually remnants of a universal veil if one
was present.
The Gills: Usually present on the lower
surface of the cap and composed of many
thin layers stacked side by side. [12] Some
mushrooms will have pores instead of gills.
These are tiny tubes packed closely together
forming a sponge layer. The lower side of
the cap maybe smooth wrinkled or veined.
Whichever form it takes, this is where the
spores are produced. Finer distinctions are
often made to distinguish the types of
attached gills: adnate gills, which adjoin
squarely to the stalk; notched gills, which
are notched where they join the top of the
stalk; adnexed gills, which curve upward to
meet the stalk, and so on. These distinctions
between attached gills are sometimes
difficult to interpret, since gill attachment
may change as the mushroom matures, or
with different environmental conditions.
The stem: Stem or shaft of the mushrooms
helps in nutrients absorption. Some
mushrooms do not have a stem. Some has a
ring or skirt below the cap; as it remains of
the protective cover for the gills called a
veil, which protects the gills when young.
[13] As the cap expands or grows, the veil
ruptures leaving the skirt like ring on the
stem. This can be very obvious in some
species and barely visible in others. There is
another type of veil occurring in some
species called a universal veil. This covers
the whole mushroom as it emerges from the
ground, and as it grows, the veil breaks
leaving behind the volva or cup. Remnants
of this type of veil can also been seem on the
upper surface of the cap in some species.
A mushroom develops from a nodule
or pinhead, less than two millimeters in
diameter, called a primordium, which is
typically found on or near the surface of
the substrate. It is formed within
the mycelium, the mass of thread
like hyphae that make up the fungus. The
primordium enlarges into a roundish
structure of interwoven hyphae roughly
resembling an egg, called a "button". The
button has a cottony roll of mycelium,
the universal veil that surrounds the
developing fruit body. As the egg expands,
the universal veil ruptures and may remain
as a cup, or volva, at the base of the stalk, or
as warts or volval patches on the cap. Many
mushrooms lack a universal veil, therefore
they do not have either a volva or volval
patches. Often, a second layer of tissue,
the partial veil, covers the bladelike gills that
bear spores. Mushrooms lacking partial veils
do not form an annulus.
Mushroom polysaccharides
Mushrooms are the rich dietary
source which contains carbohydrates and
several health promoting effects. [14]
Mushrooms are also rich in the non-
digestive dietary fibres which are glucan,
chitin and hetropolysaccharides. It may also
prevent viral infection by enchaning the
growth of probiotic bacteria in the large
intestine. Mushroom polysaccharides are
potential source of prebiotics as it contains
nutrients such as chitin, hemicelluloses, α &
β-glucan, mannans, xylans and galactose.
Several thousand species of mushroom were
considered edible approximately 2000, out
of which 20 are cultivated commercially but
only 4-5 are industrially produced. It was
also found that there is significant difference
in the nutritional value of the stalk and
pileus. The mushroom contains high amount
of carbohydrates in comparison to the
proteins and fats. [15] Various minerals and
vitamins are also present in the mushroom.
Different mushroom produces the different
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types of polysaccharides which could be
either water soluble or insoluble. Some
polysaccharides have only glucose moiety
and some have proteins attached with it.
Polysaccharides are almost β-linked glucose
molecules but some also have galactose and
mannose, some are heteropolysaccharides
and others are glucan-protein complexes.
The species which could be widely used for
the prebiotics purpose are viz. Agaricus
bisporus, Agaricus bitorquis, Agaricus
blazei, Auricularia auricular-judae, Boletus
erythropus, Calocybe indica, Flammulin
avelutipes, Ganoderma Lucidium,
Geastrums accatum, Hericium erianaceus,
Lentinus edodes, Phellinus linteus, Pleurotus
eryngii, Pleurotus florida, Pleurotus
ostreatus. [ 16]
Types of mushroom polysaccharides and its
Mushrooms are used as medicine
since the Neolithic and paleolithic period.
[20] First time in 1960, scientists knew the
active chemicals are present and they found
that these active chemicals were
polysaccharides. These polysaccharides
could be used in treatment of as simple to
complex diseases like cancer, AIDS and
other present day diseases. The different
types of polysaccharides and their benefits
as prebiotic are described below.
D-glucans are polysaccharides of the
D-glucose molecule which may be linked by
α or β glycosidic linkage. [21] The most
important activity carried out by these
polysaccharides is the ability to modulate
the immune system. Glucans are known to
activate Lactobacillus rahmosus,
Bifidobacterium bifidium and Enterococcus.
[22] Two types of the β-glucan molecules are
found that are β-1,3glucan and β-1, 6
β-1, 3 glucan
β-1,3 glucan are the polysaccharides
of glucose molecule that are linked by β-1,3
linkage. [23] This β-glucan molecule binds
effectively with the innate immune
compartments like NK cells and
macrophages. [21] It was reported that 0.1-
0.5% in the diet stimulate the IL-4, IL-12
and IFN productions. It is also used for the
antiallergic purpose. It was proved by
experimenting on mice that were infected
with the cedan pollen which create
symptoms in human like sneezing, nasal
congestion and conjunctivitis. Glucans
molecules are found to modulate the innate
system, there are number of receptors for the
glucan to bind with them. The receptors are
dectin-1, complement receptor-3, TLR2 and
TLR6. Dectin is widely expressed on the
dendritic cells, macrophages, neutrophils,
monocytes and T-cells. It was found that
there is synergestic effect when there is
interaction between dectin-1 and TLR2
when they bind with β-glucan.
Β-1, 6 glucan
β-1, 6 glucan are the polysaccharides
of glucose molecule with β-1,6 linkage. [23]
These glucans molecules are attached with
the protein or other sugars moiety are widely
used in the antitumor activity. These
molecules are heteroglucan, arabinoglucans
and acidic glucans. The glucans isolated
from the Ganoderma species are only used
for antitumor activity. β-glucans are also
known to reduce the cholesterol level and
LDL levels in the hypercholesterolmeic
patients. Hence it downregulate the genes
involved in lipogenesis and lipid transport.
The Pleutous species glucans are also used
for the antitumor activity but they are not
much efficient. They are more potent
analgesic and anti-inflammatory.
Lentinan is polysaacharides like
glucan which are arranged in triple helix
structure. It is triple helix polysaccharides
and activates the Escherichia coli and
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inhibits Salmonella. [22] It was found that it
has an antitumor activity. [10] Abel et al in
1989 found that lentinan increased the
production of macrophages and hence there
was increase in the phagocytosis. [24] It was
also found that when horse radish
peroxidase is added with the lentinan it
increases the inhibitory effect much more
due to the stimulation of the pinocytosis.
Grifloan are the β-linked glucose
molecule having triple helix structure and
activate the Bifidobacterium and
Lactobacillus and show inhibitory effect on
Salmonella. Grifloan has the same activity
like lentinan. [10] It increased the glucose
comsumption and activity of
lysosomalenzyme, β-D glucourinodase in
macrophages. It also effectively stimulates
the production of interleukin, tumor nacrosis
factor. The other effects found were increase
in actue phase proteins, vascular dilation and
hemorrhage. These were the beneficial
effects of the mushroom polysaccharides.
Conceptual model for the interaction
between mushroom polysaccharides and
innate immune receptors as expressed on
β-glucans exert immunomodulatory
effects via activation of innate pathway in
macrophages. β-glucans stimulate the
productionof TNF-α, IFN-γ and IL-12(Fig
2a). β-glucans bind with the dectin-1
receptor on the cellwall of macrophages and
allow the activation of TNF-α,IFN-γ,
phagocytosis and NFk-B. [20]
Lentinan activate the production of
interleukin-1 and also stimulate the
proliferation of thymocytes when it
combines with c3b receptor on the cell wall
of macrophages (Fig 2b). [9]
Grifloan exert beneficial effect when
it combined with the c3b receptor (fig 2c). It
increased the glucose consumption, activity
of the lysosomal enzyme and p-D-
glucuronidase in macrophages. It is also
International Journal of Health Sciences & Research ( 82
Vol.3; Issue: 8; August 2013
stimulating the production of IL-1, TNF-α
and IL-6. [9]
Features of polysaccharides occurring in
the mushroom
There are common belief that
bioactive molecules are present in the plant
materials, yeasts and bacteria, but today it is
found that the mushroom also have the
bioactive chemicals which have medical
importance. Stalk is known to contain high
amount of polysaccharides. Different
species of mushroom are known to produce
different polysaccharides which have
different activities. The list of several
polysaccharides present in the mushroom is
described in the table 1.
Table:1. List of polysaccharides present in the mushroom.
Types of polysaccharides
Structural features
Agaricus bisporus
Mucilage composed of glucose
Activation of macrophages
Agaricus bitorquis
β-(1→3)-linked glucan
Activation of natural killer
Agaricus blazei
Glucan-protein complex
α, β-glucan
Activation of T-
β-(1→3)-D-glucan with
branches at (1→6)
Antiviral activity
Boletus erythropus
(1→3)-linked glucose with
branches at O-6
Antimicrobial activity
Calocybe indica
Downregulate lipogenesis
Ganoderma lucidum
β-(1→3)-linked D-glucan
Induction of apoptosis
Geastrum saccatum
Glucan-protein complex
β-linked glucan
Treatment in stomach
Grifola frondosa
Antitumor activity
Lentinus edodes
Antitumor activity
Phellinus linteus
β-(1→3)-linked D-glucan
Increase production of
Pleurotus eryngii
α-(1→3)-linked D-glucan
Antiproliferative effect
Pleurotus florida
α-(1→3)-D-glucan branched at
O-3 and O-6
by β-D-glucose, β-
Inhibit tumoral cell to cell
Pleurotus ostreatus
Increase gastrointestinal
Schizophyllum commune
Antitumor activity
Sparassis crispa
Lipid peroxidation
Termitomyces eurhizus
Anti-aging effects
Mushroom polysaccharides not only
activates probiotic that sustain in the
gastrointestinal tract but also showed
medicinal effects like tumor therapy,
cardiovascular disease, anti-viral, anti-
bacterial, antioxidant activates anti-aging
activity and reduces the obesity. Hence
mushroom can be considered as a potential
prebiotic in future.
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How to cite this article: Bhakta M, Kumar P. Mushroom polysaccharides as a potential
prebiotics. Int J Health Sci Res. 2013;3(8):77-84.
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The key to good health is to have a functional and strong immune system. A strong immune system is characterized by the ability to protect the body from infection and any form of invasion by foreign objects. The strength of an immune system is also exhibited by the ability to prevent allergy and autoimmune diseases. The two major components of immune responses are innate and acquired immune responses which work together in synergy. Recent advances in medicine use diverse immunomodulators of natural origin, which can evoke biological reactions and reinforce body’s natural defense mechanisms. A lot of studies in dietary and food biotechnology are ongoing about new alternatives for disease prevention. The need to improve health and quality of life has led to the discovery of certain food substances, which have nutritional value as well as biological activities. These are classified as either nutraceuticals or functional foods. Extensive studies, which have established that there is a relationship between gut microbiome and immunity, have spurred many research and studies on functional foods. Majority of the nutraceuticals and functional foods have been known to possess multiple therapeutic benefits against a variety of disease conditions. Their biological activities include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-tumor, hepatoprotective, immunomodulatory, and many more. This chapter aims to discuss immune boosting activities of functional foods and nutraceuticals as well as narrate the mechanism of the immune modulation.KeywordsNutraceuticalFunctional foodDietary supplementImmune systemImmunomodulation
Mushrooms have been widely used for nutritional and therapeutic purposes for over a millennium. Medicinal mushrooms have the potential to stimulate the gut microbiota by functioning as immunomodulators. However, mushrooms’ health-promoting attributes through regulation of the gut microbiota have not been thoroughly studied. This chapter provides information on the health-promoting properties of medicinal mushrooms in regulating the gut microbiota and the mechanisms by which mushrooms improve host health through their prebiotic potential. Mushrooms are rich in dietary fibers such as chitin, galactans, α- and β-glucans, mannans, and xylans. These indigestible mushroom polysaccharides contribute as an excellent source of prebiotics and prevent the proliferation of opportunistic pathogens, promote the growth of probiotic bacteria, and restore the bacterial imbalance in the gastrointestinal tract. Mushrooms polysaccharides have also been shown to enhance the antioxidant status by improving microbiome diversity in the gut. The explicit mechanisms of the polysaccharide constituents that are present in mushrooms that are responsible for prebiotic potential and gut microbiota modulation need further study.
Specific bacteria species in the human colon are critical for health, owing to their metabolic outputs and their immunomodulatory effects. The high intakes of dietary fats and refined sugars that are typical of a Western diet can lead to dysfunction of the gut microbiota and are manifested in an epidemic of non-communicable chronic human diseases. Medical and pharmacological chemotherapeutic agents reduce cardiovascular mortality among individuals at risk but may induce oxidative stress, which increases to an invasive stage with disease progression. Dietary approaches such as natural complex polysaccharides (PSs) possess the ideal fermentable characteristics that are substrates for the beneficial microbial population in the colon. This chapter describes the chemical structure and physiological activities of nine potential sources of PS, synthetic human milk oligosaccharides, mushroom PS, and three PS isolated from the marine seaweeds. Furthermore, the incorporation of probiotic bacteria into human consumption elicits increasing interest because of its ability to enhance resistance to potential pathogens via competitive adherence to the mucosa and epithelium and the production of antimicrobial substances. However, negative evidence has been reported upon the administration of some traditional probiotics led to the selection of specific next-generation probiotics (NGPs) to prevent diseases. This chapter describes in detail the characteristics of the promising NGPs and their specific bioactive role for the restoration of healthy homeostasis within the gut. The antiobesogenic effect of specific prebiotics and probiotics so far reported in the literature was highlighted. The future research needed was highlighted in terms of the synergistic effects of combinations of different prebiotics, probiotics, and synbiotics. The need for standardization of the protocols of human trials and economic analysis of cost-effectiveness warrant more consideration.
Edible mushrooms are being used as good source of food and medicinal purposes. It contains different polysaccharides such as hemicellulose, chitin, α- and β-glucans, mannans, xylans, and galactans that act as a potential source for prebiotics. Prebiotics are short-chain carbohydrates that alter the composition, or metabolism, of the gut microbiota such as bifidogenic bacteria (Bifidobacterium sp.), lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus sp.) in a beneficial manner. The properties of prebiotics are determined on the basis of probiotic growth stimulation, pathogenic inhibition, and gastrointestinal tolerance (in amylase, bile extract, and HCl). Edible mushroom contains high bioactive compounds and is a good source of prebiotic that contains short-chain sugars such as glucose, galactose, fructose, and N-acetylglucosamine which are nondigestible carbohydrates that stimulate the growth of beneficial microorganisms. Mushroom prebiotics to stimulate the growth of gut microbiota, conferring health benefits to the host. Prebiotics are considered as an alternative strategy to prevent or control pathogens. Hence the fruiting bodies of edible mushroom extend that the prebiotics will improve the health in the same way as probiotics.
Nowadays, mushrooms with enhanced medicinal properties are being focused on finding such compounds that could modulate the immune systems of the human body. Mushrooms are extensively known for their antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antiviral, hepatoprotective, antitumor, and immunomodulatory properties owing to the presence of various bioactive components. However, a few of them are characterized and reported so far. Various polysaccharides, including β-glucans, are the principal constituent of the mushroom cell wall and play a significant role in their biological activity. This review aimed to focus on a concise report on the extraction process of the active ingredients from a mushroom with some therapeutic applications. Here, we have briefly described the medicinal properties of some commonly used mushroom extracts or their derivatives. It is interesting to note that mushroom is a potential source of many bioactive products that boost immunity. Thus, the development of functional medicinal food is essential for human welfare.
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Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that stimulate the growth of bifidogenic and lactic acid bacteria in the gastro-intestinal tract. Typically, the prebiotics consist of dietary fibers and oligosaccharides. Prebiotics exert a plethora of health-promoting effects, owing to which multi million food and pharma industries have been established. Prebiotics are being implicated in starter culture formulation, gut health maintenance, colitis prevention, cancer inhibition, immunopotentiaton, cholesterol removal, reduction of cardiovascular disease, prevention of obesity and constipation, bacteriocin production, use in fishery, poultry, pig, cattle feed and pet food. Looking at the ever-increasing demand of prebiotics, in this review, recent trends in prebiotic production from new novel sources, from food industrial wastes, prebiotic supplementation in food, commercially available prebiotic agents, prebiotic production by various techniques and future perspectives has been discussed. The critical insight into this hot research area aims to stimulate further ponderance.
The use of component from Ganoderma lucidum as prebiotic source is interesting as the G. lucidum itself was known for more than a decade in the traditional Chinese medicine. In this work, Ganoderma lucidum crude polysaccharides (GLCP) and Polysaccharide-fraction number 2 (PF-2) were used as carbon sources in the fermentation with Bifidobacterium sp. The results showed the potential of prebiotic effect of the G. lucidum extract in batch-culture fermentation based on increment in the growth of bacteria used (0.4-1.5 log10CFU/mL) after 18h fermentation. Fermentation was further done using faecal materials as bacterial inocula and bacterial growth changes were examined using real-time PCR. The results showed the ability of GLCP and PF-2 to support the growth of Bifidobacterium genus with 0.3 and 0.7 log10cells/ml increased, respectively. Interestingly, Lactobacillus which is known as beneficial bacterial genus also showed growth increment with 0.7 and 1 log10cells/ml increased. The competition for carbon sources thus inhibits the growth of potentially harmful genus, Salmonella (0.3 and 0.5 log10cells/ml) in comparison to the control.
The effect of supplementing xylooligosaccharides (XO) to purified diets on growth performance and several metabolic parameters was examined in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. The dietary XO improved growth retardation, hyperphagia, polydipsia, elevation of serum glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol, reduction of liver triglyceride, and fatty acid composition (reduction of the desaturation index) of liver phosphatidylcholine. In addition, the XO diet yielded an acidic environment in the cecum by increasing the pool size of acetic acid. Thus, XO, which is half as sweet as sucrose, can be applicable to foods as a sweetener that is capable of improving diabetic symptoms.
Caloric contribution of sugars in our dietCalorie control and its importance in weight managementSatiety: role of intense and bulk sweetenersLegislation relevant to reduced-calorie foodsConclusions
Cultivated oyster mushrooms (genus Pleurotus) are interesting as a source of biologically active glucans. Partially, β-glucan from Pleurotus sp. (pleuran) has been used as food supplements due to its immunosuppressive activity. Like other dietary fibre components, oyster mushroom polysaccharides can stimulate the growth of colon microorganisms (probiotics), i.e. act as prebiotics. Specific glucans were isolated from stems of Pleurotus ostreatus and Pleurotus eryngii by subsequent boiling water and alkali extraction. Obtained water soluble (L1), alkali soluble (L2) and insoluble (S) fractions were characterised by various analytical methods. Spectroscopic analysis detected glucans in all the fractions: branched 1,3-1,6-β-d-glucan predominated in L1 and S, while linear 1,3-α-d-glucan in L2. Fractions L1 also contained marked amount of proteins partially in complex with glucans; protein content in L2 was insignificant. Effective deproteinisation of L1 and separation of α- and β-glucans in L2 was achieved by the treatment with phenolic reagent. Small amount of chitin was found in S as a component of cell wall chitin–glucan complex. Potential prebiotic activity of extracts L1 and L2 was testing using nine probiotic strains of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium and Enterococcus. These probiotics showed different growth characteristics dependently on used extract and strain specificity due to the presence of structurally diverse compounds. The extracts L1 and L2 can be applied to synbiotic construction only for carefully selected probiotic strains. This exploitation of fruit body extracts extends the use of mushrooms P. ostreatus and P. eryngii for human health.
The importance of a properly functioning and well-balanced immune system for maintaining health has become strikingly evident over the past decades. Roughly since World War II, there has been an apparent decrease in the prevalence of "traditional" infectious diseases, with a concomitant increase in immune-related disorders, such as allergies. Causally, a relationship with changes in life-style-related factors such as the increasing use of hygienic practices seems likely. Diet and nutrition can affect the functioning of various immune parameters. This concept can be utilised in attempts to prevent or mitigate allergic reactions via the development of targeted food products or ingredients. This review describes recent findings with respect to food products and ingredients that show potential in this respect, with special emphasis on pro- and prebiotics, beta-glucans and fungal immunomodulatory proteins. What all of these approaches have in common is that they appear to strengthen Th1-mediated immunity, thus possibly restoring defective immune maturation due to overly hygienic living conditions: a little bit of dirt does not seem bad!
The technologies of metagenomics and metabolomics are broadening our knowledge of the roles the human gut microbiota play in health and disease. For many years now, probiotics and prebiotics have been included in foods for their health benefits; however, we have only recently begun to understand their modes of action. This review highlights recent advances in deciphering the mechanisms of probiosis and prebiosis, and describes how this knowledge could be transferred to select for enhancing functional foods targeting different populations. A special focus will be given to the addition of prebiotics and probiotics in functional foods for infants and seniors.
Lentinan, an immunopotentiating beta-1,3-glucan polysaccharide stimulated the in vitro phagocytosis of BSA-coated, C3b- or monoclonal immunoglobulin (IgG2b)-coated fluorescent microspheres by resident or thioglycollate-elicited mouse macrophages in a dose-dependent manner. Analysis of flow cytometric data has shown that microbead phagocytosis of resident macrophages, which exhibit a lower basic phagocytic activity than the thioglycollate elicited ones, has been augmented by up to 900% due to lentinan. The percent ratio of phagocytes among peritoneal exudate cells, however, remained unchanged after short-term lentinan stimulation. Preincubation of the cells with lentinan resulted in increased ingestion of the microbeads. Activation of phagocytosis by lentinan is therefore due in part to the direct stimulation of the cells, however, lentinan also serves as supplementary opsonin for C3b-coated beads. Mannan inhibited the ingestion of C3b-coated microspheres by 75%, which was abolished in part when lentinan was also added to the cells. Mannan did not influence the phagocytosis of BSA-coated or IgG-coated beads. Our data, based solely on in vitro studies, suggest a beta-glucan receptor mediated activation of phagocytes by lentinan. These receptors are different from the C3b, Fc or mannose receptors. It is very likely that stimulation of phagocytic activity of macrophages by lentinan may contribute to the antitumor action of this immunopotentiating polysaccharide.
Because the human gut microbiota can play a major role in host health, there is currently some interest in the manipulation of the composition of the gut flora towards a potentially more remedial community. Attempts have been made to increase bacterial groups such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus that are perceived as exerting health-promoting properties. Probiotics, defined as microbial food supplements that beneficially affect the host by improving its intestinal microbial balance, have been used to change the composition of colonic microbiota. However, such changes may be transient, and the implantation of exogenous bacteria therefore becomes limited. In contrast, prebiotics are nondigestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and/or activity of one or a limited number of bacterial species already resident in the colon, and thus attempt to improve host health. Intake of prebiotics can significantly modulate the colonic microbiota by increasing the number of specific bacteria and thus changing the composition of the microbiota. Nondigestible oligosaccharides in general, and fructooligosaccharides in particular, are prebiotics. They have been shown to stimulate the growth of endogenous bifidobacteria, which, after a short feeding period, become predominant in human feces. Moreover, these prebiotics modulate lipid metabolism, most likely via fermentation products. By combining the rationale of pro- and prebiotics, the concept of synbiotics is proposed to characterize some colonic foods with interesting nutritional properties that make these compounds candidates for classification as health-enhancing functional food ingredients.
Medicinal properties have been attributed to mushrooms for thousands of years. Mushroom extracts are widely sold as nutritional supplements and touted as beneficial for health. Yet, there has not been a critical review attempting to integrate their nutraceutical potential with basic science. Relatively few studies are available on the biologic effects of mushroom consumption, and those have been performed exclusively in murine models. In this paper, we review existing data on the mechanism of whole mushrooms and isolated mushroom compounds, in particular (1-->3)-beta-D-glucans, and the means by which they modulate the immune system and potentially exert tumor-inhibitory effects. We believe that the antitumor mechanisms of several species of whole mushrooms as well as of polysaccharides isolated from Lentinus edodes, Schizophyllum commune, Grifola frondosa, and Sclerotinia sclerotiorum are mediated largely by T cells and macrophages. Despite the structural and functional similarities of these glucans, they differ in their effectiveness against specific tumors and in their ability to elicit various cellular responses, particularly cytokine expression and production. Unfortunately, our data base on the involvement of these important mediators is still rather limited, as are studies concerning the molecular mechanisms of the interactions of glucans with their target cells. As long as it remains unclear what receptors are involved in, and what downstream events are triggered by, the binding of these glucans to their target cells, it will be difficult to make further progress in understanding not only their antitumor mechanisms but also their other biological activities.