Ural Federal University: Mushrooms With Antioxidant Effects Found in the Urals

In the Ural trout mushrooms, relatives of the Chinese medicinal reishi, were found strong antioxidant effects. Studies have shown that the substances have high biological activity. The results of the experiments have been published in the AIP Conference Proceedings. The work of Ural biologists was supported by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education and Science (Project № 02.A03.21.0006 and № FEUZ-2021-0014).

“Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is best known in traditional and well studied in modern medicine in China, Japan, Korea. In Asia these mushrooms are used for treatment: they have immunomodulatory, antiviral, antitumor, neuroprotective and anti-diabetic effects. Their activity is based on a complex of substances, mainly terpenic acids, terpene alcohols, and steroids. Our Ural mushrooms showed similar biological activity,” Aleksandr Ermoshin, associate professor of Department of Experimental Biology and Biotechnologies, explains.

Over four years, researchers at Ural Federal University have screened more than 20 species. Of these, less than half with high antioxidant activity were selected. Then, for the selected species, biological activity was tested on animal cells.

“Physiology colleagues tested the extracts on artificially cultured animal cells – normal and tumor cells. The studies showed that normal cells did not die or grew better, while cancer cells died. There is still a long way to go before a cancer drug is created, but we are working in this direction,” says Aleksandr Ermoshin.

So far, scientists are working with wild species of mushrooms, but the plan is to cultivate these species in the laboratory.

During research, scientists also found that these mushroom extracts not only affect animal cells, but also protect plants from heavy metals – allowing them to survive in contaminated soils.

“Oxidative stress exists not only in animals and humans, but also in plants. In the Urals, for example, in addition to climatic factors, contaminated soils can be such negative factors. If we plant plants in soil contaminated with heavy metals, the plants can grow poorly or die. But when we add mushroom extracts to the same environment, the plants get better – their survival rate increases, their growth improves. We checked it out, it works. We haven’t seen this kind of information in the scientific literature before,” says Aleksandr Ermoshin.

In the Sverdlovsk Region and other forested regions of Russia, there are many trout fungi. These wood-destroying fungi grow on living and dead trees. Earlier such mushrooms were considered mainly as a problem for forests. Now Ural Federal University scientists, based on the experience of their Chinese colleagues, have decided to turn the problem for good.

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