Mycology (from the Greek µυκης, mukes, meaning "fungus") is the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi, including their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy and their use to humans as a source for tinder, medicine (e.g., penicillin), food (e.g., beer, wine, cheese, edible mushrooms) and entheogens, as well as their dangers. (1)
Since 1997, MRL has focused on the food aspect of mushroom (fungi) nutrition in so far that a biomass form can supply beta-glucans, enzymes and secondary metabolites that can support the immune function in both human and animal health.
Unlike an extracted mushroom products that may be composed of specific β-glucans, MRL biomass mushrooms provide not only β-glucans, but also enzymes and secondary metabolites.
There are several types of β-glucans in mushroom species such as β-1,3 –glucans and β-1,3-1,6 glucans (2). As far as anti-tumour, immune enhancing and modulating activities, these three activities are attributed to β-1,3-1,6 glucans which exhibit a triple helix as their tertiary structure (3,4).
The key immune attributes of the ß-glucans are:
However, while there are extracted mushroom products that have a higher β-1,3-1,6 glucan content than their MRL equivalent in the absence of protoelytic enzymes, the key is what occurs in the presence of such protoelytic enzymes such as pepsin and trypsin. In a recent study comparing the β-1,3-1,6 glucan contact between an extracted Reishi product with Reishi MRL; it was determined that in the presence of protoelytic enzymes, the biomass equivalent Reishi had a higher β-1,3-1,6 glucan contact. (5).
In sum, MRL products are more resistant to proteolytic enzymes (i.e simulation of digestive tract) since it is in a biomass form and not on cell extract. Therefore, the concentrated extract of the fruiting bodies is more exposed and available to the action of proteolytic enzymes (i.e simulation of digestive tract) since there are no physico-chemical barriers to prevent such exposure.
The MRL mushroom products also provide enzymes. Enzymes are an essential pillar of the efficacy of fungal biomass. These protein substances are part of and partially control many vital processes of metabolism in the body, contributing greatly to the promotion of good health, protecting the body and also aiding the treatment of diseases. These enzymes are divided into the following activities:
a) Enzymes that prevent oxidative stress:
b) Enzymes that prevent cellular growth:
c) Enzymes that promote detoxification: Peroxidase
The extracted mushroom equivalent of MRL mushroom biomass do not contain enzymes. For viral diseases, enzymes are an integral part of the mechanisms of the body in ensuring prevention and (self) treatment.
c) Secondary metabolites
Extracted mushroom products exhibit low levels of secondary metabolites compared with the MRL equivalent product. In additions to protein bound polysaccharides and enzymes, mushrooms have been shown to possess a large number of secondary metabolites, which may play an important role in the immune function of the host and hence could be used in immunotherapy of several disease states (6). These include:
- Metal chelating agents
(1) Wikpedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mycology
(2) Production, purification and characterization of polysaccharides from Pleurotus ostreatus with antitumour activity by Silva S, Martins S, Karmali A, Rosa E. J Sci Food Agric. 2012 ;92(9):1826-32.
(3) A new colorimetric method to quantify ß-1,3-1,6-glucans in comparison with total ß-1,3-glucans and a method to quantify chitin in edible mushrooms by Helga Mölleken, Jörg Nitschke, Hendrik Modick, Tim Malolepszy, Hans-josef Altenbach; Food chemistry 127 (2011), 791-796.
(4) The structure and conformation of a water-insoluble (1-->3)-,(1-->6)-beta-d-glucan from the fruiting bodies of Pleurotus florida.by Rout D, Mondal S, Chakraborty I, Islam SS. Carbohydr Res. 2008 ; 343(5):982-7.
(5) Glucans from the alkaline extract of an edible mushroom, Pleurotus florida, cv Assam Florida: isolation, purification, and characterization.by Ojha AK, Chandra K, Ghosh K, Islam SS. Carbohydr Res. 2010 ; 345(15):2157-63.
(6) The Possible Role of Mushroom Nutrition as a Delivery Agent for Enzyme Therapy in Cancer Car-Chemical and Biological Properties of Mushroom Nutrition by Professor Amin Karmali, Mycology News, Vol 1, Edition 7, March 2003.