Medicinal Mushrooms: History
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Subjects: Zoology
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The extensive use of antibiotics in the poultry industry with the purpose of increasing production performance has led to human health hazards. A driving force for the interest of using natural herbs is to establish antibiotic alternatives in poultry production have been reported in the research literature. Therefore, the objective of this review study was to determine the effect of different levels of mushrooms and their extract in diet on layer performance, and health status. Based on previous findings, dietary supplementation using mushrooms, as natural feed supplement, sustained the laying performance and improved the immunity in laying hens.

  • medicinal mushrooms
  • laying hens
  • health status
  • performance

1. Definition

Traditionally, mushrooms have been used for highly valued food and pharmaceutical purposes because of their role as a tonic and their benefit to health [1]. Cultivated edible mushrooms are good sources of protein, have low-fat content, and are cholesterol free [2]. Mushrooms are also very popular as a quality protein containing essential amino acids, adequate vitamins, minerals, and are rich source of different unsaturated fatty acids [3]. Different bioactive components have been extracted from the fruiting body and mycelium part of mushroom and tested in invitro studies. Polysaccharides are considered to be the most activate component in mushrooms which have immune stimulating activities [3]. In addition, the polysaccharides in mushroom have been found to produce different cytokines and increase the weight of immune stimulating organs in laboratory animals [4,5]. Presently, researchers have become interested in the role of medicinal mushrooms in poultry production systems.
Antibiotics as feed additives have been used as growth and health promoters in poultry production [6], however, because of the appearance of microorganisms that are resistant to specific antibiotics, the application of antibiotics in poultry ration has been forbidden or restricted in the developed countries [7,8]. As a result, exploring new growth-promoting alternatives to antibiotics has become a hot topic of research for several years [9]. Chickens are very sensitive to immunosuppressive stressors and infectious diseases [10]. Different infections are responsible for reduction in growth rates, poor egg production, and mortality, which have resulted in huge economic losses in the poultry industry. There is a direct relationship between feeding and the immune system of the host [11]. Various attempts, through genetic manipulation, dietary alterations, various medicinal supplements, etc. have been tried to reduce the cholesterol content in meat and eggs, and therefore improve their health status [12].

2. Biological Role of Medicinal Mushrooms

Mushrooms have been reported to have many useful functions including antitumor, anticancer, antihypertensive, cholesterol lowering effect, antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory, immune-modulatory function, as well as anti-bacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activities on human and animal health [15,16].

2.1. Antitumor Activities

The shiitake mushroom (Lentinus edodes) is rich in antitumor agents which play a role inhibiting cancer cell growth [17]. Aqueous extracts from the vegetative submerged mycelia of cultivated Ganoderma lucidu, and Lentinus edodes have been reported to have antitumor activities [18]. F. velutipes mushrooms have been reported to hold bioactive compound having antitumor functions [19]. The extract of F. velutipes mushroom has been used to oppose breast cancer cells [20]. Recently, significant novel components with anticancer function were discovered in F. velutipes by Chinese researchers. These researchers discovered a sesquiterpene, which is known as flammulinol A, along with other flammulinolides A–G derived from F. velutipes mushroom that were effective against several cancer cell lines [21]. A recent study by Dong et al. [22] reported that polysaccharide, purified from Ganoderma applanatum mushroom, was effective against human breast cancer in an invitro study.

2.2. Antioxidant Activities

Today, the antioxidant properties of different medicinal mushrooms are well-known. Some previous studies have reported that the polysaccharides and oligosaccharide present in medicinal mushrooms show antioxidant functions [23]. Conventional uses of butylated hydroxyanisole and butylated hydroxytoluene as synthetic antioxidants can be hazardous to humans, and therefore there is a need to discover natural antioxidant products [24]. Tang et al. [3] stated that the phenolic ingredients present in mushrooms may have the capacity to withdraw the oxidation of the LDL for their anti-inflammatory activities. A fibrinolytic enzyme that was successfully purified and derived from the culture supernatant of needle mushroom was reported by Park et al. [25]. The antioxidant activities depend on different parts and varieties of mushrooms. Zeng et al. [26] stated that F. velutipes mushroom hold a higher phenolic amount with the highest antioxidant activities. Different mushrooms were found to exhibit vitaminC and selenium that can play a role in antioxidant functions [14]. A recent study by Lin et al. [27] found that the Cordyceps sobolifera (Ascomycetes) mushroom exhibits antioxidant properties as a functional food and dietary supplement. In addition, Agaricus brasiliensis are considered potential auxiliaries for the treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis due to their capacity to reduce oxidative stress [28]. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of A. bisporus biomass extracts from an in vitro culture were reported by Muszynska et al. [29]. In their studies, incubation of Caco-2 cells with A. bisporus extracts resulted in decreased expression of cyclooxygenase-2 and prostaglandin F2α receptor as compared with the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or TNF-α-activated cells. The antioxidant activity of Pleurotus ostreatoroseus (Agaricomycetes) mushroom was also noted by Brugnari et al. [16].

2.3. Lipid Metabolism Activities

The positive role of golden needle mushroom on lipid metabolism in male hamsters was reported by Yeh et al. [30]. Their study showed that both the extract and the powder originating from needle mushroom were capable of reducing serum and liver tissue cholesterol level in hamsters. Another study by Yang et al. [31] found a lower level of plasma triglyceride, total cholesterol (TC), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in diet-induced hyperlipidemic rats fed Hericiumerinaceus mushroom exo-polymer. Lovastatin, as well as γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), were identified from F. velutipes fruiting bodies [32]. Lovastatin is used to reduce cholesterol production that can diminish risks of heart diseases [32,33]. Another study by Harada et al. [34] reported very effective results by decreasing the systolic pressure in rats using GABA-mediated F. velutipes mushroom powder. ß-D-glucan and its derivatives present in medicinal mushrooms ensured their cholesterol lowering effects by reducing the absorption or increasing the faecal excretion [35]. The oyster mushroom is also famous for its cholesterol reducing functions [36].

2.4. Antimicrobial Activities

The antimicrobial properties of medicinal mushrooms are well established. The extracts derived from medicinal Pleurotus species mushroom have been reported to have potential antibacterial and antifungal functions [37,38]. An invitro experiment was conducted by Sknepnek et al. [39] with reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) on antimicrobial functions. Their studies concluded that the liquid Ganoderma lucidum mushroom beverage at a 0.04 mg/mL concentration was very useful against Staphylococcus epidermidis and Rhodococcus equi. In addition, it was very useful against Bacillus spizizenii, B. cereus, and R. equi at a 0.16 mg/mL concentration. Nedelkoska et al. [40] reported that the mushroom fruiting body was very effective against different bacteria. Kashina et al. [41] stated that the mushroom, F. velutipes, exhibited inhibitory activities in opposition to two different harmful fungi (Sporothrix schenckii and Candida albicans). Enokipodins have been found in the needle mushroom that has antimicrobial functions [42].

2.5. Immune Functions

The immune functions of mushrooms are well known. Different protein and various peptides present in mushrooms are able to modify the immune response positively [14]. Invitro immune-modulatory studies with F velutipes showed that raw 264.7 cells were stimulated to secret nitric oxide upon administration of 200 to 500 µg/mL F.velutipes polysaccharide (FVPA2). The FVPA2 also encouraged the proliferation of the spleen lymphocytes and B lymphocytes in experimental mice [43]. Manayi et al. [44] used the extract of Ganoderma applanatum mushroom at a concentration of 1000 mg/kg diet on the defense mechanisms in rainbow trout. This study found the potential ability of G. applanatum mushroom extract to activate immunologic parameters in rainbow trout. Lee et al. [45] found that the mushroom could increase the concentration of IFNγ that has a toxic function against lymphoma cell. The polysaccharides of needle mushroom were found to produce different cytokines and increase the weight of immune stimulating organs in laboratory animals [4,5]. The mushroom polysaccharides increased the body weight of experimental mice and the weight ratio of the thymus and spleen, as well as it could modulate the T cell subpopulation of thymocytes and splenocytes [30]. Moreover, the polysaccharides of mushroom increased NO (nitric oxide), TNF-a, IL-1b, and IL-6 production, and lymphocyte proliferation in mice model [46].

2.6. Nutritional Roles

Mushrooms are very popular for their nutritional values. Mushrooms have been reported as a good source of six major nutrients which include carbohydrates, especially dietary fiber, proteins, vitamins, minerals, lipids, and water. Rich in proteins, carbohydrates, and fiber with low fat are the unique features of the medicinal mushroom. In addition, different types of essential amino acids (AA) have been found in mushroom [47,48,49]. The nutritional component of different mushroom showed dry matter (DM) 74% to 89.6%; crude protein (CP) 8.9% to 14.8%; carbohydrate 43.33% to 69.40%; total detergent fiber (TDF) 1.9% to 7.40%; crude fat (EE) 1.75% to 3.91%; ash (total mineral) 4.91% to 8.40%; calcium (Ca) 2.21% to 3.05%, and phosphorus (P) 1.68% to 1.88% [3,50,51].


This entry is adapted from the peer-reviewed paper 10.3390/ani9121014

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