Journal of Food and Nutrition Research
ISSN (Print): 2333-1119 ISSN (Online): 2333-1240 Website: Editor-in-chief: Prabhat Kumar Mandal
Open Access
Journal Browser
Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2017, 5(4), 226-233
DOI: 10.12691/jfnr-5-4-4
Open AccessArticle

Impact of Mushroom Nutrition on Microbiota and Potential for Preventative Health

Ferrão J1, Bell V2, Calabrese V3, Pimentel L4, Pintado M4 and Fernandes TH5,

1Universidade Pedagógica, Rua João Carlos Raposo Beirão 135, Maputo, Moçambique

2Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade de Coimbra, Pólo das Ciências da Saúde, Azinhaga de Santa Comba, 3000-548 Coimbra, Portugal

3Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Catania, Catania, Italy

4Universidade Católica Portuguesa, CBQF - Centro de Biotecnologia e Química Fina – Laboratório Associado, Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Rua Arquiteto Lobão Vital, Apartado 2511, 4202-401 Porto, Portugal

5ACIVET, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Lisbon University, 1300-477 Lisboa, Portugal

Pub. Date: March 31, 2017

Cite this paper:
Ferrão J, Bell V, Calabrese V, Pimentel L, Pintado M and Fernandes TH. Impact of Mushroom Nutrition on Microbiota and Potential for Preventative Health. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research. 2017; 5(4):226-233. doi: 10.12691/jfnr-5-4-4


The current short article reviews the role of mushroom biomass, rich in β-glucans, enzymes, germanium and secondary metabolites, the interaction with the human gut microbiota and the prevention or treatment of various metabolic syndrome-linked diseases. The focus is on mushroom β-glucans compared to other soluble and fermentable dietary fibres, their unique effects on nutrition, human microbiota, health and disease, specifying the significantly differing physicochemical properties depending on the source and type of mushroom or dietary supplement. An overview of definitions and types of fibre, a brief examination of the health benefits associated with β-glucans from mushroom biomass, its possible mechanisms of action, and its potential dietary supplement applications are provided. Despite promising evidence of mushroom biomass on health much research still remains to be done.

mushroom biomass β-glucans microbiota

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Hawrelak JA & Myers, SP (2004).The causes of intestinal dysbiosis: a review. Alternative Medicine Review, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 180-197.
[2]  Neish AS, (2009). Microbes in gastrointestinal health and disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jan; 136 (1):65-80.
[3]  Sekirov I, Russell SL, Antunes LCM, Finlay B. (2010). Physiological Reviews. Published 1 July 2010 Vol. 90 no. 3, 859-904.
[4]  Bianconi E, Piovesan A, Facchin F, Beraudi A, Casadei R, Frabetti F, Vitale L, Pelleri MC, Tassani S, Piva F, Perez-Amodio S, Strippoli P, Canaider S. (2013).An estimation of the number of cells in the human body. Ann Hum Biol. 2013 Nov-Dec; 40(6): 471.
[5]  Sender R, Fuchs S, Milo R. (2016). Revised estimates for the number of human and bacteria cells in the body. PLOS Biology.
[6]  Stamets P. (2012). Beta-Glucan Analysis and the Seven Pillars of Immunity.
[7]  Cruz A, Pimentel L, Rodriguez-Alcalá, Fernandes, T, Pintado M. (2016). Health benefits of edible mushrooms focused on Coriolus versicolor: A Review. Journal of Food and Nutrition Research 2016. Vol. 4, Nº 12, 2016, pp 773-781.
[8]  Gibson GR, Roberfroid MB (1995). Dietary Modulation of the Human Colonic Microbiota: Introducing the Concept of Prebiotics. J.Nutr. 125:1401-12.
[9]  Coffey JC, O'Leary DP. (2016).The mesentery: structure, function, and role in disease. The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology. 1 (3): 238-247.
[10]  Baker AM, Cereser B, Melton S, Fletcher AG, Rodriguez-Justo M, Tadrous PJ, Humphries A, Elia G, McDonald SA, Wright NA, Simons BD, Jansen M, Graham TA (2014). Quantification of crypt and stem cell evolution in the normal and neoplastic human colon. Cell Rep. 8 (4): 940-7.
[11]  Enders G. (2015). Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ. 256 Pp.
[12]  Khoruts A, MJ Sadowsky (2011). Therapeutic transplantation of the distal gut microbiota. Mucosal Immunol. 4: 4-7.
[13]  Bakken JS, T. Borody LJ, Brandt JV, Brill DC, Demarco MA, Franzos CK, Khoruts A, Louie T, Martinelli LP, Moore TA, Russell G, Surawicz C. (2011). The Fecal Microbiota Transplantation Workgroup. 2011. Treating Clostridium difficile infection with fecal microbiota transplantation. Clin. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 9:1044-1049.
[14]  Borody TJ, Khoruts A. (2011). Fecal microbiota transplantation and emerging applications. Nat. Rev. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 9: 88-96.
[15]  Qin J, Li R, Raes J, Arumugam M, Burgdorf KS, Manichanh C, Nielsen T, Pons N, Levenez F, Yamada T, Mende DM, Li J, Xu J, Li S, Li D, Cao J, Wang B, Liang H, Zheng H, Xie Y, Tap J, Lepage P, Bertalan M, Batto J-M, Hansen T, Le Paslier D, Linneber D, Nielsen HB, Pelletier E, Renault P, Sicheritz-Ponten T, Turner K, Zhu H, Yu C, Li S, Jian M, Zhou Y, Li Y, Zhang X, Li S, Qin N, Yang H, Wang J, Brunak S, Doré J, Guarner F, Kristiansen K, Pedersen O, Parkhill J, Weissenbach J, MetaHIT Consortium, Bork P, Ehrlich SD & Wang J (2010). A human gut microbial gene catalogue established by metagenomic sequencing. Nature 464: 59-65.
[16]  Ursell LK, Metcalf JL, Parfrey LW, Knight R.(2012), Defining the human microbiome. Nutrition Reviews, 70: S38-S44.
[17]  Guarner F, Malagelada, J.R. (2003). Gut Flora in Health and Disease. The Lancet, 361, 512-519.
[18]  Surana NK, Kasper DL (2012). The yin yang of bacterial polysaccharides: Lessons learned from B. fragilis PSA. Immunol Rev. 2012 January; 245(1): 13-26.
[19]  Gershon M. (1998). The second brain: the scientific basis of gut Instinct and a groundbreaking new understanding of nervous disorders of the stomach and intestine. HarperCollins.
[20]  Furness JB (2008).The enteric nervous system. John Wiley & Sons.
[21]  Matzinger P, Kamala T. (2011). Tissue-based class control: the other side of tolerance. Nature Reviews Immunology. 11, 221-230.
[22]  Sarris J, Logan AC, Akbaraly TN, Amminger GP, Balanzá-Martínez V, Freeman MP, Hibbeln J, Matsuoka Y, Mischoulon D, Mizoue T, Akiko Nanri A, Nishi D, Ramsey D, Rucklidge JJ, Sanchez-Villegas A, Scholey A, Su K-P, Jacka FN. (2015). Nutritional medicine as mainstream in psychiatry. The Lancet Psychiatry.
[23]  Mullard A. (2008). Microbiology: The inside story. Nature 453, 578-580 (2008).
[24]  Courtney J. Robinson, Brendan J. M. Bohannan, and Vincent B. Young. From Structure to Function: the Ecology of Host-Associated Microbial Communities. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2010 Sep; 74(3): 453-476.
[25]  Dick LK, Bernhard AE, Brodeur TJ, Domingo JWS, Simpson JM, Walters SP, and Field KG (2005). Host Distributions of Uncultivated Fecal Bacteroidales Bacteria Reveal Genetic Markers for Fecal Source Identification. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, June 2005, p. 3184-3191, Vol. 71, No. 6.
[26]  Sanhong Y, Weaver V, Martin K, Cantorna MT. (2012). The effects of whole mushrooms during inflammation. Pennsylvania State University. BioResearch Update.USA.
[27]  Zhou X, Meyer CU, Schmidtke P, Zepp F. (2002). Effect of cordycepin on interleukin-10 production of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. European Journal of Pharmacology. 453 (2002), 309-317.
[28]  Dudhgaonkar S, Thyagarajan A, Silva D. (2009). Suppression of the inflammatory response by triterpenes isolated from the mushroom Ganoderma lucidum. International Immunopharmacology. 2009. 9 (11), 1272-1280).
[29]  Yasukawa K, Kaminaga T, Kitanaka S, Takido M. (1998). 3-beta-p-hydroxybenzoyldehydrotumulosic acid from Poria cocos, and its anti-inflammatory effect. Phytochemistry. 1998. 48 (8), 1357-1360.
[30]  Park YK, Lee HB, Jeon E-J, Kang M-H. (2004). Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes as assessed by comet assay. BioFactors. 2004. 21 1 (4), 109-112).
[31]  Jayakumar T, Ramesh E and Geraldine P. (2006). Antioxidant activity of the oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, on CCl4-induced liver injury in rats. Food and Chemical Toxicology. Volume 44, Issue 12, December 2006, pp 1989-1996.
[32]  Tonutti E, Bizzaro N (2014). Diagnosis and classification of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Autoimmun Rev (Review). 13 (4-5): 472-6.
[33]  Craft J. (2016). The adaptive immune system. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016: chap 46.
[34]  Yu S, Weaver V, Martin K, Cantorna MT (2009). The effects of whole mushrooms during inflammation. BMC Immunology. 2009. 10: 12.
[35]  Wu GD, Chen J, Hoffmann C, Bittinger K, Chen YY, Keilbaugh SA, Bewtra M, Knights D, Walters WA, Knight R, Sinha R, Gilroy E, Gupta K, Baldassano R, Nessel L, Li H, Bushman FD, Lewis JD (2011) Linking long-term dietary patterns with gut microbial enterotypes. Science. 334(6052):105-108.
[36]  Reilly P, Sweeney T, O'Shea C, Pierce KM, Figat S, Smith AG, Gahan DA, Doherty JV (2010). The effect of cereal-derived beta-glucans and exogenous enzyme supplementation on intestinal microflora, nutrient digestibility, mineral metabolism and volatile fatty acid concentrations in finisher pigs. Animal feed science and technology. 2010, 158: 165-176.
[37]  Ramberg J, Nelson E, Sinnott R. (2010). Immunomodulatory dietary polysaccharides: a systematic review of the literature. Nutr J. 2010; 9:1-60.
[38]  Clark M, Slavin J. (2013). The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013; 32(3):200-211.
[39]  Littman DR, Pamer EG. 2011. Role of the commensal microbiota in normal and pathogenic host immune responses. Cell Host Microbe. 10: 311-323.
[40]  Kamada N, Seo S, Chen GY, Núñez G. (2013). Role of the gut microbiota in immunity and inflammatory disease. Nature Reviews Immunology. 13, 321-335 (May 2013).
[41]  Caballero S, Pamer EG. (2015). Microbiota-Mediated Inflammation and Antimicrobial Defense in the Intestine. Annual Review of Immunology. Vol. 33:227-256.
[42]  Reid G, Sanders ME, Gaskins HR, Gibson GR, Mercenier A, Rastall R, Roberfroid M, Rowland I, Cherbut C, Klaenhammer TR (2003). New scientific paradigms for probiotics and prebiotics. Journal of clinical gastroenterology. 2003, 37: 105-118.
[43]  Vrese M, Schrezenmeir J. (2008). Probiotics, Prebiotics, and Synbiotics. Food Biotechnology. Volume 111 of the series Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology. pp 1-66.
[44]  Gibson GR, Probert HM, Loo J, Rastall R, Roberfroid MB. (2004). Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: updating the concept of prebiotics. Nutrition Research Reviews. 17(2): 259-75.
[45]  Mego, M., Manichanh, C., Accarino, A., Campos, D., Pozuelo, M., Varela, E., Vulevic, J., Tzortzis, G., Gibson, G., Guarner, F., Azpiroz, F. (2017) Metabolic adaptation of colonic microbiota to galactooligosaccharides: a proof-of-concept-study. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 45 (5). pp. 670-680.
[46]  Roberfroid M. (2007). Prebiotics: The Concept Revisited. Effrects of Probiotics and Prebiotics. March 2007. The Journal of Nutrition. Vol. 137 no. 3. 830S-837S.
[47]  Pedersen, C., Gallgher , E., Horton, F., Ellis, R. J., Ijaz, U. Z., Wu, H., Jaiyeola, E., Diribe, O., Duparc, T., Cani, P. D., Gibson, G. R., Hinton, P., Wright, J., La Ragione , R., Robertson, M. D. (2016) Host-microbiome interactions in human type 2 diabetes following prebiotic fibre (galactooligosaccharide) intake. British Journal of Nutrition, 116 (11). pp. 1869-1877.
[48]  Grimaldi, R., Cela, D., Swann, J. R., Vulevic, J., Gibson, G. R., Tzortzis, G., Costabile, A. (2017). In vitro fermentation of B-GOS: impact on faecal bacterial populations and metabolic activity in autistic and non-autistic children. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 93 (2). fiw233.
[49]  El Khoury D, Cuda C, Luhovyy BL, Anderson GH. (2012). Review Article. Beta Glucan: Health Benefits in Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. Volume 2012. Article ID 851362, 28 pages.
[50]  Chu Y. (2013). Oats Nutrition and Technology. Barrington, Illinois: Wiley Blackwell. 464 pp. December 2013.
[51]  EFSA. (2010).Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for carbohydrates and dietary fibre. EFSA Journal. 8(3): 1462.
[52]  EFSA. (2014). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to non-digestible carbohydrates and a reduction of post-prandial glycaemic responses pursuant to Article 13 (5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924 / 2006 1. EFSA Journal. 12: 3513.
[53]  EFSA. (2015). Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to “native chicory inulin ” and maintenance of normal defecation by increasing stool frequency pursuant to Article 13. 5 of Regulation (EC) No 1924 / 2006 1. EFSA Journal. 13: 3951.
[54]  Barros L, Venturini BA, Baptista P, Estevinho LM and Ferreira ICFR (2008). Chemical Composition and Biological Properties of Portuguese Wild Mushrooms: A Comprehensive Study. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2008, 56, 3856-3862.
[55]  De Angelis M, Montemurno E, Vannini L, Cosola C, Cavallo N, Gozzi G, Maranzano V, Di Cagno R, Gobbetti M, Gesualdo L. (2015). Effect of whole-grain barley on the human fecal microbiota and metabolome. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 81:7945-7956.
[56]  Adams DJ. (2004). Fungal cell wall chitinases and glucanases. Microbiology 150: 2029-2035.
[57]  Bohn JÁ, BeMiller JN. (1995). (1→3)-β-d-glucans as biological response modifiers. A review of structure-functional activity relationships. Carbohyd. Polym. 1995, 28, 3-14.
[58]  Stier H, Ebbeskotte V, Gruenwald J. (2014). Immune-modulatory effects of dietary Yeast Beta-1,3/1,6-D-glucan. Nutrition Journal. 2014. 13:38.
[59]  Ng TB. (1998). A review of research on the protein-bound polysaccharide (Polysaccharopeptide, PSP) from the mushroom Coriolus versicolor (Basidiomycetes: Polyporaceae). General Pharmacology; 30(1): 1-4.
[60]  Frey A, Giannasca KT, Weltzin R, Giannasca PJ, Reggio H, Lencer WI, Neutra MR. (1996). Role of the glycocalyx in regulating access of microparticles to apical plasma membranes of intestinal epithelial cells: implications for microbial attachment and oral vaccine targeting. The Journal of Experimental Medicine. United States: Rockefeller University Press. 184 (3): 1045-1059.
[61]  Gebert A, Pabst R. (1996). M Cells in Peyer's Patches of the Intestine. International Review of Cytology. 167(91):91-159.
[62]  Hong F, Yan J, Baran JT Allendorf DJ Hansen RD Ostroff GR, Xing PX, Cheung NK;, Ross GD (2004). Mechanism by which orally administered β-1,3-glucans enhance the tumoricidal activity of antitumor monoclonal antibodies in murine tumor models. Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md.: 1950). United States: American Association of Immunologists. 173 (2): 797-806.
[63]  Thomas S, Balasubramanian KA (2004). Review Article: Role of intestine in postsurgical complications: involvement of free radicals. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. Volume 36, Issue 6, 15 March 2004, pp 745-756.
[64]  Biron CA, Brossay L. (2001) NK cells and NKT cells in innate defense against viral infections. Curr Opin Immunol 13, 458-464.
[65]  Brown DM, Roman E, Swain SL. (2004) CD4 T cell responses to influenza infection. Semin Immunol 16, 171-177.
[66]  Wong P, Pamer EG (2003) CD8 T cell responses to infectious pathogens. Annu Rev Immunol. 21, 29-70.
[67]  Feeney MJ, Dwyer J, Hasler-Lewis CM, Milner JA, Noakes M, Rowe S, Wach M, Beelman RB, Caldwell J, Cantorna MT, Castlebury LA, Chang S-T, Cheskin LJ, Clemens R, Drescher G, Fulgoni III VL, Haytowitz DB, Hubbard VS, Law D, Miller AM, Minor B, Percival SS, Riscuta G, Schneeman B, Thornsbury S, Toner CD, Woteki CE, Wu D. (2014). Supplement: Mushrooms and Health Summit Proceedings. J. Nutr. July 1, 2014. vol. 144 no. 7 1128S-1136S.
[68]  Lam KL, Cheung PC-K (2013). Non-digestible long chain beta-glucans as novel prebiotics. Bioactive Carbohydrates and Dietary Fibre. 2013, 2: 45-64.
[69]  Ren Z, Guo Z, Meydani SN, Wu D. 2008. White Button Mushroom Enhances Maturation of Bone Marrow-Derived Dendritic Cells and Their Antigen Presenting Function in Mice 1, 2. The Journal of Nutrition. 138: 544-550.
[70]  Wu D, Pae M, Ren Z, Guo Z, Smith D, Meydani SN. (2007)Dietary supplementation with white button mushroom enhances natural killer cell activity in C57BL/6 mice. J Nutr . 2007.137:1472-7.
[71]  NCI, National Cancer Institute, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Accessed 01/13/2017.
[72]  Stephen AM. (1985). Effects of food on the intestinal microflora. In: “Food and the gut”. Hunter, J.O., Alun-Jones, V. Eds. Balliere Tyndall, London; pp. 57-77.
[73]  Shimizu C, Kihara M, Aoe S, , Araki S, Ito K, Hayashi K, Watari J, Sakata Y, Ikegami S. (2008). Effect of high beta-glucan barley on serum cholesterol concentrations and visceral fat area in Japanese men—a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2008; 63(1):21-25. Epub Dec 2007.
[74]  Webb D. (2014). Betting on Beta-Glucans. Today’s Dietitian. Vol. 16 No. 5 P. 16.
[75]  Cheung PCK. (2013). Mini-review on edible mushrooms as source of dietary fiber: Preparation and health benefits. Beijing Academy of Food Sciences. Food Science and Human Wellness. Elsevier B.V.
[76]  NAS (2005). The National Academy of Sciences. National Academy Press. Food and Nutrition Board: Dietary, Functional, and Total Fiber. Washington DC 20001, USA.
[77]  Wood P. (2007). Cereal β-glucans in diet and health. Journal of Cereal Science. Volume 46, Issue 3, November 2007, Pages 230-238.
[78]  Chaudhary DP, Kumar S, Yadav OP. (2013). Nutritive Value of Maize: Improvements, Applications and Constraints. Chapter: Maize- Nutrition Dynamics and Novel Uses.
[79]  NIH, National Institutes of Health (2013). The Digestive System and How It Works. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.
[80]  Santos JMA, Martins MR, Salvador C, Candeias MF, Karmali A, Caldeira AT. (2012). Protein-polysaccharides of Trametes versicolor: Production and biological activities. Medicinal Chemistry Research. 21(6): 937-943.
[81]  Rahmad N., Al-Obaidi J.R., Rashid N.M.N., Zean N.B., Yusoff M.H.Y.M., Shaharuddin N.S., Jamil N.A.M., Saleh N.M. Comparative proteomic analysis of different developmental stages of the edible mushroom Termitomyces heimii. Biological research; 47(1): 1: (2014).
[82]  Karmali A. (2014). Comparative Differences in ß-1,3-1,6 Glucan content between Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) mushrooms (Biomass vs Extracted) in the Presence of Proteolytic Enzymes. Clinical Journal of Mycology. January 2014. Vol. 4.
[83]  Fujimiya Y, Suzuki Y, Oshiman K, Kobori H, Moriguchi K, Nakashima H, Matumoto Y, Takahara S, Ebina T, Katakura R (1998).Selective tumoricidal effect of soluble proteoglucan extracted from the basidiomycete, Agaricus blazei Murill, mediated via natural killer cell activation and apoptosis. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 1998, 46: 147-159.
[84]  Zhu J, Paul WE (2008). CD4 T cells: Fates, functions, and faults. Blood. 112 (5): 1557-69.
[85]  Rang, H. P. (2003). Pharmacology. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. Page 223.
[86]  Palacios I, Lozano M, Moro C, Villares A. (2011). Antioxidant properties of phenolic compounds occurring in edible mushroom. Food Chemistry. 128(3):674-678.
[87]  Adly AAM. (2010). Oxidative Stress and Disease: An Updated Review. Research Journal of Immunology, 3: 129-145.
[88]  Lee KH, Park M, Ji KY, Lee HY, Jang JH, Yoon IJ, Oh SS, Kim SM, Jeong YH, Yun CH (2014). Bacterial (1, 3)-glucan prevents DSS-induced IBD by restoring the reduced population of regulatory T cells. Immunobiology. 2014, 219: 802-812.
[89]  Lackie J (2010). Cytokine. In: A dictionary of biomedicine. Oxford University Press.
[90]  Ibelgaufts H (2016). Cytokines. In Cytokines & Cells Online Pathfinder Encyclopedia Version 31.4 (Spring 2016 Edition).
[91]  Furusawa Y, Obata Y, Fukuda S, Endo TA, Nakato G, Takahashi D, Nakanishi Y, Uetake C, Kato K, Kato T (2013). Commensal microbe-derived butyrate induces the differentiation of colonic regulatory T cells. Nature. 2013, 504: 446-450.
[92]  Fritz H, Kennedy DA, Ishii M, Fergusson D, Fernandes R, Cooley K, Seely D. PSK and Coriolus versicolor extracts for lung cancer: a systematic review. Integr Cancer Ther 2015 May, 14(3): 201-11.