Wild mushroom species exhibits functional food, commercial potential: Pakistani study

The wild mushroom species is commonly known as reishi or ling zhi. ©iStock

Extracts from a species of wild mushroom could serve as a safe and nutritious functional food, according to a recent Pakistani study.

Ganoderma lucidum (G. lucidum) has been found to possess antioxidant and antimicrobial qualities, as well as anti-haemolytic properties towards human erythrocytes (haemoglobin-filled red blood cells that transport oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from tissues).

Commonly known as reishi by the Japanese or ling zhi by the Chinese, the wild mushroom boasts an abundance of carbohydrates, proteins and phytochemicals — particularly phenolic compounds, flavonoids and carotenoids.

Comparable composition

Additionally, G. lucidum consists of over 80% moisture, with its remaining composition comprising proteins, crude fibre, carbohydrates and smaller fat content.

Phytochemical screening showed that it also contains ascorbic acid or vitamin C, beta-carotene (a source of vitamin A), and lycopene, potentially giving it cardiovascular, cognitive, and anti-cancer benefits.

The study said the “proximate composition of wild G. lucidum was found to be comparable with certain nutritionally and medicinally important fruits, beans, rice, and certain novel foods”.

Moreover, the variety of flavonoids and phenolic compounds present in the G. lucidum extracts are on par with those in certain medicinal plants, plant foods, and beverages.

Commercial potential

In the study, G. lucidum was labelled a “potential source of dietary supplements and antioxidants”, giving it commercial potential as an exemplary source of preventive nutrients and functional foods.

In light of this, the antimicrobial and anti-haemolytic properties of its crude extracts were tested in several solvents. It was subsequently found that when collected in methanol and water, the wild mushroom extracts displayed significant levels of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities.

The study further observed that aqueous and methanolic extracts of the mushroom were safe for human erythrocytes, concluding that these extracts could be “further explored as food supplements and chemo-preventive drugs”.

 

Source: Preventive Nutrition and Food Science

Volume 22(2), June 2017

“Wild Mushrooms: A Potential Source of Nutritional and Antioxidant Attributes with Acceptable Toxicity”

Authors: Sumaira Sharif, et al.

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