Wasser SP. Medicinal mushrooms as a source of antitumor and immunomodulating polysaccharides. Appl. Microbiol. Biot. 60: 258-274

Institute of Evolution, University of Haifa, Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel.
Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology (Impact Factor: 3.34). 11/2002; 60(3):258-74. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-002-1076-7
Source: PubMed


The number of mushrooms on Earth is estimated at 140,000, yet maybe only 10% (approximately 14,000 named species) are known. Mushrooms comprise a vast and yet largely untapped source of powerful new pharmaceutical products. In particular, and most importantly for modern medicine, they represent an unlimited source of polysaccharides with antitumor and immunostimulating properties. Many, if not all, Basidiomycetes mushrooms contain biologically active polysaccharides in fruit bodies, cultured mycelium, culture broth. Data on mushroom polysaccharides have been collected from 651 species and 7 infraspecific taxa from 182 genera of higher Hetero- and Homobasidiomycetes. These polysaccharides are of different chemical composition, with most belonging to the group of beta-glucans; these have beta-(1-->3) linkages in the main chain of the glucan and additional beta-(1-->6) branch points that are needed for their antitumor action. High molecular weight glucans appear to be more effective than those of low molecular weight. Chemical modification is often carried out to improve the antitumor activity of polysaccharides and their clinical qualities (mostly water solubility). The main procedures used for chemical improvement are: Smith degradation (oxydo-reducto-hydrolysis), formolysis, and carboxymethylation. Most of the clinical evidence for antitumor activity comes from the commercial polysaccharides lentinan, PSK (krestin), and schizophyllan, but polysaccharides of some other promising medicinal mushroom species also show good results. Their activity is especially beneficial in clinics when used in conjunction with chemotherapy. Mushroom polysaccharides prevent oncogenesis, show direct antitumor activity against various allogeneic and syngeneic tumors, and prevent tumor metastasis. Polysaccharides from mushrooms do not attack cancer cells directly, but produce their antitumor effects by activating different immune responses in the host. The antitumor action of polysaccharides requires an intact T-cell component; their activity is mediated through a thymus-dependent immune mechanism. Practical application is dependent not only on biological properties, but also on biotechnological availability. The present review analyzes the pecularities of polysaccharides derived from fruiting bodies and cultured mycelium (the two main methods of biotechnological production today) in selected examples of medicinal mushrooms.

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    • "For thousands of years fungi have been recognised as nutritious, highly palatable functional foods in many societies and are now accepted as a valuable source for the development of medicines and nutraceuticals (Chang & Buswell, 1996; Wasser, 2002). Pharmacological and medicinal studies of fungi have shown that the Basidiomycete and Ascomycete divisions are an immense source of biologically active components, yet less than ten percent of all species have been described and even less have been tested for therapeutic significance (Blackwell, 2011; Lindequist, Niedermeyer, & Julich, 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Ten species of filamentous fungi grown in submerged flask cultures were investigated for antioxidant capacity. Effective antioxidant activity was demonstrated in terms of β-carotene/linoleic acid bleaching, radical scavenging, reduction of metal ions and chelating abilities against ferrous ions. Different extraction methods affected antioxidant activities through their effect on biologically active compounds produced in fungal mycelia. The methanolic extract of each fungus was typically more effective in antioxidant properties. Phenolic content was established in the range of 0.44-9.33mg/g, flavonoid contents were in the range of 0.02-3.90mg/g and condensed tannin contents were in the range of 1.77-18.83mg/g. Total phenol content of each extract was attributed to overall antioxidant capacity (r⩾0.883-1.000). Submerged cultivation of Grifola frondosa, Monascus purpureus, Pleurotus spp., Lentinula edodes and Trametes versicolor proved to be an effective method for the production of natural antioxidants. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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    • "The development of novel antimicrobials in the struggle against pathogens and antibiotic resistance is one of the most important global challenges of our time. Medicinal mushrooms represent an unlimited source of polysaccharides with nutritional, antitumoral, antibacterial and immune stimulating properties [1] . In recent years the traditional studies on epigeous higher Basidiomycetes have been joined by those on hypogeous fungi and in particular on the so-named " desert truffles With the aim to obtain novel agents against pathogenic bacteria, we focused on edible desert truffles mushrooms Tirmania pinoyi and Terfezia claveryi as source of new anti-infective agents. "
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    • "Mushrooms such as Ganodermalucidum (Reishi), Lentinusedodes (Shiitake), Inonotusobliquus (Chaga), and many others have been collected and used for hundreds of years in Korea, China, Japan, and eastern Russia (Wasser, 2002). Mushroom metabolites are increasingly being utilized to treat a wide variety of diseases, particularly as they can be added to the diet and used orally, without the need to go through phase‐I/‐II/‐III trials as in ordinary medicines, and they are considered as a safe and useful approach for disease treatment. "
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    ABSTRACT: Consumption of edible mushrooms has been practiced since ages to promote human health and as traditional remedies for multiple human ailments. The excellent nutritional quality of these organisms collectively called as filamentous fungi for their filament like hyphal extension, owes to a high protein, low fat and cholesterol free profile. Over the last decade, a diverse repertoire of protein-glycan conjugates isolated from these organisms has been attributed with immunomodulatory, anticancer, and other therapeutic activities. An integrated use of conventional chemical analyses, improved separation technologies, and new generation high-throughput proteomic approaches has revealed features in these complex biomolecules unknown elsewhere amongst the eukaryotes. However, due to some serious technological bottlenecks, a comprehensive structure-function delineation of the fungal glycoproteome has eluded the scientists. If we can prevail over these constraints and dig deep into this unique niche of the fungal kingdom, the quest for new generation nutraceuticals and therapeutics will get headway.
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