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The Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill: Review of Literature and Pharmaco-Toxicological Problems.

Firenzuoli F, Gori L, Lombardo G - Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2008)

Bottom Line: The polysaccharides phytocomplex is thought to be responsible for its immunostimulant and antitumor properties, probably through an opsonizing biochemical pathway.Clinical studies are positive confirmations, but we are still at the beginning, and there are perplexing concerns especially relative to the content of agaritine.Argantine is a well-known carcinogenic and toxic substance in animals, that must be completely and fully evaluated.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center of Natural Medicine and Department of Internal Medicine, S. Giuseppe Hospital, Az USL 11, Empoli, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Agaricus blazei Murrill (ABM) popularly known as 'Cogumelo do Sol' in Brazil, or 'Himematsutake' in Japan, is a mushroom native to Brazil, and widely cultivated in Japan for its medicinal uses, so it is now considered as one of the most important edible and culinary-medicinal biotechnological species. It was traditionally used to treat many common diseases like atherosclerosis, hepatitis, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, dermatitis and cancer. In vitro and in vivo ABM has shown immunomodulatory and antimutagenic properties, although the biological pathways and chemical substances involved in its pharmacological activities are still not clear. The polysaccharides phytocomplex is thought to be responsible for its immunostimulant and antitumor properties, probably through an opsonizing biochemical pathway. Clinical studies are positive confirmations, but we are still at the beginning, and there are perplexing concerns especially relative to the content of agaritine. Argantine is a well-known carcinogenic and toxic substance in animals, that must be completely and fully evaluated.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Agaricus blazei Murill mushroom.
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Figure 1: Agaricus blazei Murill mushroom.

Mentions: Agaricus spp. are saprophytes widely distributed over geographical areas from the tropics to the boreal regions, inhabitating a variety of habitats from alpine meadows, to salty and sandy seashores, to deciduous and conifer woodlands (6) The most economically important species is A. bisporus Imbach that is the most widely cultivated edible mushroom, accounting for 32% of the more than million metric tons of mushrooms produced worldwide in 1997 (8). ABM (Fig. 1) is a large Agaricus species with a brownish-gold cap (7–2 cm broad), convex, fleshy, the stem short and hard, with chocolate brown basidiospores (5 × 4 µm) and is closely related to A. subrufescens (9,10). The mushroom grows with a stalk length and a cap diameter that are about equal (campestroid type). As a litter-decomposing fungus, it naturally grows well in soils rich in lignicolous debris, in mixed woods, along forest edges and manures. Nowadays main cultivation centers are established in Japan, China and Brazil, where the fungus is cultured in enriched composts or pasteurized substrates supplemented with nitrogenous additives (10). New data indicate that the medicinal mushroom from Brazil and Japan could be biologically and phylogenetically the same species as A. subrufescens Peck from North America, although a search on the web and a review of diverse commercial product literature indicate that association of the name ABM with the Brazilian mushroom is attributed to P. Heinemann (11). So there would be an interfertility between North American A. subrufescens and the ‘medicinal Agaricus’; the presence in hybrids of genetic materials from two progenitors and novel phenotypes indicate that members of these geographically distant mushroom populations might constitute a single ‘biological species’ (11). This could be confirmed by the paper of Colauto (12) showing little genetic variability among commercialized strains based on results of RAPD analysis data of 20 primers from fungi cultivated in malt-agar medium for DNA extraction. The paper showed that some commercialized A. blazei spawns in Brazil have identical genotypes, and are probably clones having the same origin, which could be Japan (12). Nevertheless, recently Wasser has published (13) an historical-botanical analysis of the mushroom concluding that ABM differs from A. blazei ss. Heinemann in (i) size, shape of fruit bodies and pileal surface; (ii) type of pileal covering; (iii) presence of cheilocystidia; and (iv) spore size. That is, North American endemic species A. blazei ss. Murrill and the widely cultivated medicinal A. blazei ss. Heinemann would be two different species; and A. blazei ss. Heinemann should be considered a new species: A. brasiliensis (13,14). This problem is probably to be considered still open until an official international consensus statement will end this botanical dispute.Figure 1.


The Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill: Review of Literature and Pharmaco-Toxicological Problems.

Firenzuoli F, Gori L, Lombardo G - Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2008)

Agaricus blazei Murill mushroom.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2249742&req=5

Figure 1: Agaricus blazei Murill mushroom.
Mentions: Agaricus spp. are saprophytes widely distributed over geographical areas from the tropics to the boreal regions, inhabitating a variety of habitats from alpine meadows, to salty and sandy seashores, to deciduous and conifer woodlands (6) The most economically important species is A. bisporus Imbach that is the most widely cultivated edible mushroom, accounting for 32% of the more than million metric tons of mushrooms produced worldwide in 1997 (8). ABM (Fig. 1) is a large Agaricus species with a brownish-gold cap (7–2 cm broad), convex, fleshy, the stem short and hard, with chocolate brown basidiospores (5 × 4 µm) and is closely related to A. subrufescens (9,10). The mushroom grows with a stalk length and a cap diameter that are about equal (campestroid type). As a litter-decomposing fungus, it naturally grows well in soils rich in lignicolous debris, in mixed woods, along forest edges and manures. Nowadays main cultivation centers are established in Japan, China and Brazil, where the fungus is cultured in enriched composts or pasteurized substrates supplemented with nitrogenous additives (10). New data indicate that the medicinal mushroom from Brazil and Japan could be biologically and phylogenetically the same species as A. subrufescens Peck from North America, although a search on the web and a review of diverse commercial product literature indicate that association of the name ABM with the Brazilian mushroom is attributed to P. Heinemann (11). So there would be an interfertility between North American A. subrufescens and the ‘medicinal Agaricus’; the presence in hybrids of genetic materials from two progenitors and novel phenotypes indicate that members of these geographically distant mushroom populations might constitute a single ‘biological species’ (11). This could be confirmed by the paper of Colauto (12) showing little genetic variability among commercialized strains based on results of RAPD analysis data of 20 primers from fungi cultivated in malt-agar medium for DNA extraction. The paper showed that some commercialized A. blazei spawns in Brazil have identical genotypes, and are probably clones having the same origin, which could be Japan (12). Nevertheless, recently Wasser has published (13) an historical-botanical analysis of the mushroom concluding that ABM differs from A. blazei ss. Heinemann in (i) size, shape of fruit bodies and pileal surface; (ii) type of pileal covering; (iii) presence of cheilocystidia; and (iv) spore size. That is, North American endemic species A. blazei ss. Murrill and the widely cultivated medicinal A. blazei ss. Heinemann would be two different species; and A. blazei ss. Heinemann should be considered a new species: A. brasiliensis (13,14). This problem is probably to be considered still open until an official international consensus statement will end this botanical dispute.Figure 1.

Bottom Line: The polysaccharides phytocomplex is thought to be responsible for its immunostimulant and antitumor properties, probably through an opsonizing biochemical pathway.Clinical studies are positive confirmations, but we are still at the beginning, and there are perplexing concerns especially relative to the content of agaritine.Argantine is a well-known carcinogenic and toxic substance in animals, that must be completely and fully evaluated.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Center of Natural Medicine and Department of Internal Medicine, S. Giuseppe Hospital, Az USL 11, Empoli, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Agaricus blazei Murrill (ABM) popularly known as 'Cogumelo do Sol' in Brazil, or 'Himematsutake' in Japan, is a mushroom native to Brazil, and widely cultivated in Japan for its medicinal uses, so it is now considered as one of the most important edible and culinary-medicinal biotechnological species. It was traditionally used to treat many common diseases like atherosclerosis, hepatitis, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, dermatitis and cancer. In vitro and in vivo ABM has shown immunomodulatory and antimutagenic properties, although the biological pathways and chemical substances involved in its pharmacological activities are still not clear. The polysaccharides phytocomplex is thought to be responsible for its immunostimulant and antitumor properties, probably through an opsonizing biochemical pathway. Clinical studies are positive confirmations, but we are still at the beginning, and there are perplexing concerns especially relative to the content of agaritine. Argantine is a well-known carcinogenic and toxic substance in animals, that must be completely and fully evaluated.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus