Recently, an analytical study of medicinal fungi carried out by researchers from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai (IMSc), shows that some chemicals they secrete may find use as novel drugs.
??About the research
- The researchers used a database, MeFSAT (Medicinal Fungi Secondary Metabolites And Therapeutics), which compiles information on 184 medicinal fungi, including mushrooms.
- The researchers analysed the structure of 1,830 secondary metabolites of medicinal fungi.
About Medicinal fungi
- Medicinal fungi belong to two taxonomic divisions namely, basidiomycota and ascomycota.
- Mushrooms belong to the basidiomycota division.
- An example is Agaricus bisporus, the button mushroom, which can be consumed.
- Fungi belonging to the ascomycota division are generally not mushrooms.
- Among these are Isaria cicadae and Shiraia bambusicola which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.
- Secondary metabolites are chemical compounds that fungi produce when they are stressed.
- These are not strictly essential and hence the name ‘secondary’.
- They enhance the fungus’ ability to survive.
- The work has been published in the preprint server BioRXiv.
- Cordycepin, a secondary metabolite produced by Cordyceps species of fungus, is known to have anti-tumour properties.