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Current Biotechnology


ISSN (Print): 2211-5501
ISSN (Online): 2211-551X

Review Article

Protocols to Evaluate the Nutritional and Potential Health Benefits of Edible Mushrooms.

Author(s): Venkatesh Balan*, John P. Munafo Jr, Sivakumar Pattathil, Brian B. Merritt, Sivasankari Venketachalam and Wing-On Ng

Volume 7, Issue 1, 2018

Page: [34 - 58] Pages: 25

DOI: 10.2174/2211550105666160503170750

Price: $65


Background: In addition to culinary uses, edible and medicinal mushrooms have long been consumed throughout the world as traditional treatments for both acute and chronic human diseases. As a consequence, a great deal of modern research has been conducted with the aim of identifying the compounds responsible for their purported positive health effects. Despite a fairly large body of published data on the potential benefits of fungi-derived dietary supplements (i.e., mushroom extracts, mycelium powders) a consensus on the effects of daily consumption of such supplements on human health has yet to be reached. Although numerous review articles have highlighted the health benefits of edible fungi, few publications provide details about the protocols employed for critically evaluating their composition, nutritional value, quality, metal content, safety, and potential health promoting effects. To help fill this gap, a broad overview of current protocols addressing these areas of research is provided in this review.

Methods: We carried out a detailed peer-reviewed article with clearly defined questions, and identified high quality papers that employed standard protocols addressing the key questions we raised. All protocols relevant to nutritional and potential health benefits of edible mushrooms were collected and are summarized here.

Results: We identified 219 papers relevant to the review topic. About one fifth of these provided details about a wide variety of fungal secondary metabolites and other metabolites such as polysaccharides and proteins that modulate immune response, leading to positive effects on human health. A few articles covering specific research topics summarized here are: (i) mushrooms and their potential health benefits, (ii) common methods of producing mushrooms and fungal mycelium, (iii) necessity for quality control, (iv) methods used to process mushrooms into various products, (v) protocols for measuring mushroom composition, (vi) antioxidant and total phenolic, flavonoid, and triterpene estimation, (vii) estimation of structural components in mushrooms, (viii) PCR based methods to identify genotype and the presence mycotoxin producing species, and (ix) estimation of microbial load in the mushrooms.

Conclusion: The key finding of this review is that targeted chemical analyses, genotyping and other analytical methods will provide important tools to track product quality in terms of both nutritional or medicinal value, and to determine the presence of contaminants. Importantly, this review will also contribute to the understanding of reliable methodologies for assessing product efficacy, composition, quality, and dietary safety of processed mushroom products consumed by the public.

Keywords: Mushroom production, quality control, analytical assays, genotyping, food safety, microbial load.

Graphical Abstract

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