Bioactive Molecules in Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms for Human Wellness

  • Chia-Wei PhanEmail author
  • Elson Yi-Yong Tan
  • Vikineswary Sabaratnam
Living reference work entry
Part of the Reference Series in Phytochemistry book series (RSP)


Mushrooms are now gaining popularity not only as an ordinary culinary ingredient, but as a healthy and whole functional food. This chapter describes three major categories of bioactive molecules found in edible and medicinal mushrooms. First is the mushroom’s polysaccharide which is widely accepted as a superior immune-modulatory agent. The mushroom β-glucans differ from the bacterial and plant glucans. Mushroom β-glucans consist of linear β-(1→3)-linked backbones with β-(1→6)-linked side chains of varying length and distribution. Several important β-glucans like lentinan, schizophyllan, grifolan, as well as polysaccharide krestin (PSK) and polysaccharopeptide, will be discussed. Next, the triterpenes family, which are highly conserved in Ganoderma species, will be elaborated further in this chapter. Finally, the indole alkaloids, which are important in mushroom as pigmentation inducer and hallucinogens, will be briefly discussed with emphasis on the psilocin and its derivatives. Other pharmacologically important mushroom-derived alkaloids will also be included. Overall, the potential to develop mushrooms as nutraceutical foods for human wellness, and their bioactive molecules for drugs, is huge.


Mushroom Polysaccharide Glucans Triterpenes Alkaloid Indole 



We acknowledge the support of this work by the University of Malaya BKP grant (BK011-2017). This work was also supported by the University of Malaya High Impact Research MoE Grants, namely UM.C/625/1/HIR/MoE/SC/02 and UM.C/625/1/HIR/MOHE/ASH/01(H-23001-G000008).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chia-Wei Phan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Elson Yi-Yong Tan
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vikineswary Sabaratnam
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Mushroom Research CentreUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  3. 3.Institute of Biological Sciences, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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