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Research Project: New Sustainable Processing Technologies to Produce Healthy, Value-Added Foods from Specialty Crops

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Title: Mushroom polysaccharides: chemistry and antiobesity, antidiabetes, anticancer, and antibiotic properties in cells, rodents, and humans

item Friedman, Mendel

Submitted to: Foods
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/22/2016
Publication Date: 11/29/2016
Citation: Friedman, M. 2016. Mushroom polysaccharides: chemistry and antiobesity, antidiabetes, anticancer, and antibiotic properties in cells, rodents, and humans. Foods. 5(4):80. doi:10.3390/foods5040080.

Interpretive Summary: Mushrooms are low-calorie, low-cholesterol, and low-sodium health-promoting foods. Some of these health-promoting properties have been attributed to the polysaccharides produced by different varieties mushrooms, as discussed in this review. To help overcome the so-called metabolic syndrome that includes obesity and diabetes using dietary modifications, this paper: (a) describes methods used to isolate, characterize, and analyze polysaccharides from selected mushroom cultivars; (b) outlines approaches used to measure antiobesity and antidiabetic properties of mushroom polysaccharides and selected mushroom cultivars in cells, rodents, and humans; (c) describes mechanisms involving microbiota and immunostimulatory and other biomarkers and biological signaling pathways that might govern these properties; and (d) suggests research needs to further enhance the health benefits of mushroom polysaccharides. Because mushroom and bioactive polysaccharides are considered to be generally accepted as safe, the cited and proposed studies could provide numerous benefits. Mushroom polysaccharides individually, added to food, and in combination with medicinal drugs could be used therapeutically to help prevent and protect against, at low cost, the adverse effects of some of the major diseases that afflict humans. A next step is for physicians and other biomedical scientists to apply the available knowledge to help overcome such diseases.

Technical Abstract: Mushrooms are widely consumed for their nutritional and health benefits. More than 2,000 species of edible and/or medicinal mushrooms have been identified to date, stimulating much research on their health-promoting properties. These properties are associated with bioactive compounds produced by the mushrooms, including polysaccharides also known as ß-glucans. Here we survey the chemistry of such health-promoting polysaccharides (biosynthesis, analysis, isolation, structural characterization, effects of ultraviolet and gamma radiations) and their reported antiobesity and antidiabetic properties as well as selected antibiotic and anticarcinogoenic effect that demonstrate their multiple health-promoting potential. The associated antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and immunostimulatory activities in fat cells, rodents, and humans are also discussed. The mechanisms of action are complex and also involve the gut microbiota, meaning the polysaccharides act as prebiotics in the digestive system. Also covered here are the nutritional, clinical, and epidemiological studies designed to assess the health-promoting properties of mushrooms and mushroom-derived polysacchaides against obesity and diabetes, the complex mechanisms at the molecular and cellular levels that govern the formation and prevention of human disease, and suggestions for further research. The collated information and suggested research needs might facilitate and guide further studies needed for a better understanding of the health-promoting properties of mushroom polysaccharides and enhance their use to help treat human obesity and diabetes, and perhaps other diseases or conditions.