Analyzing Mushroom Polysaccharides with New Extraction Methods

Jenn Hoskins
17th April, 2024

Analyzing Mushroom Polysaccharides with New Extraction Methods

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Zhejiang University improved how to extract health-promoting compounds from reishi mushrooms
  • The new method is faster, uses less material, and is more eco-friendly than traditional extraction techniques
  • This advancement could lead to better and more sustainable reishi mushroom-based health products
Ganoderma lucidum, commonly known as reishi or lingzhi mushroom, has been a cornerstone in traditional medicine for centuries. The mushroom is renowned for its health-promoting properties, which have been substantiated by scientific research. A plethora of studies have identified over 400 biologically active constituents in Ganoderma lucidum, including polysaccharides and triterpenoids, which are credited with a broad range of therapeutic effects such as immunomodulation, anticancer, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory actions[2]. Despite the known benefits, the extraction of these compounds from Ganoderma lucidum has been a complex and inefficient process, often resulting in the loss of potential health benefits due to poor targeting and low yield. However, a recent breakthrough by researchers at Zhejiang University has dramatically improved the extraction process[1]. By unveiling the existence state of the functional components within the mushroom, the team has developed a single-step extraction strategy that is significantly more efficient than traditional methods. The new extraction process not only reduces preparation time to just one-sixth of the traditional duration but also halves the amount of raw materials needed. This method is a leap towards more sustainable and eco-friendly practices in the production of Ganoderma lucidum supplements and other related products. The structural analysis performed as part of the study identified the main triterpenes as Ganoderic acid and Lucidenic acid, and the polysaccharides as primarily 1,3-glucan and 1,3,6-glucan. This precise evaluation of the mushroom's functional components is a critical step in understanding how these compounds contribute to health and wellness. Prior research has shown that Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides can modulate the immune system by enhancing the function of antigen-presenting cells and various aspects of both humoral and cellular immunity[3]. These polysaccharides work by binding to receptors on immune cells, such as macrophages and dendritic cells, triggering pathways that lead to the production of cytokines, which are vital for immune responses. Triterpenoids from the mushroom have demonstrated antiviral effects by inhibiting enzymes necessary for the replication of viruses like HIV and herpes simplex virus[3]. Moreover, the antifatigue properties of Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides have been well documented. Studies have shown that polysaccharides with higher molecular weights, specifically those above 10 kDa, are particularly effective in enhancing endurance and promoting recovery from fatigue[4]. These findings suggest that the graded polysaccharides of Ganoderma lucidum may have significant potential as natural antifatigue agents, which is particularly relevant in the context of modern lifestyles that often lead to chronic exhaustion and stress. The innovative extraction process developed by the Zhejiang University team not only enhances the potential health benefits of Ganoderma lucidum by ensuring a more targeted and efficient extraction of its active components but also aligns with the global push towards greener and more sustainable practices. By saving time and raw materials, this new strategy could revolutionize the way functional foods and nutraceuticals are produced, ultimately contributing to better human nutritional strategies and dietary improvements. Incorporating the findings from earlier studies, the recent research builds upon the established knowledge of Ganoderma lucidum's pharmacological actions. It provides a practical solution to the challenges of traditional extraction methods and paves the way for more effective use of this ancient medicinal mushroom in modern healthcare. The implications of this research extend beyond the realm of traditional medicine, offering a scientific foundation for the development of new health supplements and pharmaceuticals derived from Ganoderma lucidum. With the improved extraction process, the full spectrum of the mushroom's therapeutic potential can be harnessed more effectively, leading to better health outcomes and a greater understanding of how natural products can be optimized for medical use.

BiochemPlant ScienceMycology


Main Study

1) Polysaccharide structure evaluation of Ganoderma lucidum from different regions in China based on an innovative extraction strategy.

Published 1st July, 2024 (future Journal edition)

Related Studies

2) Ganoderma lucidum: Persuasive biologically active constituents and their health endorsement.

3) Ganoderma lucidum: A potential source to surmount viral infections through β-glucans immunomodulatory and triterpenoids antiviral properties.

4) Characteristics and antifatigue activity of graded polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum separated by cascade membrane technology.

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