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Auricularia spp. – mushrooms as Novel Food and therapeutic agents – a Review

Agnieszka Sękara, Andrzej Kalisz, Aneta Grabowska & Marek Siwulski

Sydowia 67: 1–10

Mushrooms have been known for their nutritional and culinary values for ages. Nowadays, many species are recognized as functional dietary supplements. Among them, cultivated species of the genus Auricularia (A. auricula-judae, A. polytricha, A. fuscosuccinea) are primarily considered, because of their economic importance, especially in Asian countries, as well as the wide spectrum of their pro-health properties, including antitumor, cholesterol-lowering, anticoagulant, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial. Pharmacologically active compounds in Auricularia spp. include non-starch polysaccharides, polysaccharide-protein and polysaccharide-peptide complexes. In this paper, the current state of knowledge on nutritional value and active compounds characteristics, together with extraction methods and pharmacological activity of cultivated Auricularia mushrooms is discussed. Biological characteristics and folk medicine usage of the species are also presented. This review supports the hypothesis that polysaccharides extracted from mushrooms have significant therapeutic potential and represent a rich source of novel compounds of pharmacological value for future investigations.

Keywords: ear mushrooms, Auricularia auricula-judae, Auricularia polytricha, Auricularia fuscosuccinea, health-promotion, functional Food

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