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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
Fator do impacto: 1.423 FI de cinco anos: 1.525 SJR: 0.431 SNIP: 0.661 CiteScore™: 1.38

ISSN Imprimir: 1521-9437
ISSN On-line: 1940-4344

Volumes:
Volume 22, 2020 Volume 21, 2019 Volume 20, 2018 Volume 19, 2017 Volume 18, 2016 Volume 17, 2015 Volume 16, 2014 Volume 15, 2013 Volume 14, 2012 Volume 13, 2011 Volume 12, 2010 Volume 11, 2009 Volume 10, 2008 Volume 9, 2007 Volume 8, 2006 Volume 7, 2005 Volume 6, 2004 Volume 5, 2003 Volume 4, 2002 Volume 3, 2001 Volume 2, 2000 Volume 1, 1999

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v7.i3.210
362 pages

Medicinal Polypores of the Forests of North America: Screening for Novel Antiviral Activity

Paul E. Stamets
University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Fungi Perfecti P.O. Box 7634 Olympia, WA 98507, USA

RESUMO

Polypore mushrooms have been used medicinally for thousands of years. The Greek physician Dioscorides first described the use of a wood conk, Agarikon, now known as Fomitopsis officinalis (Vill.: Fr.) Bond. et Singer (= Laricifomes officinalis), as a treatment against consumption in 65 AD. Other wood conks, such as Ling Chi or Reishi, have had a similarly long history of use in Asia. In the past 20 years, wood conks have been carefully explored for their immunomodulating and anticancer properties. More recently, mushrooms, including polypores, have and are being explored for their antimicrobial properties.
Upon submitting more than a hundred in vitro cultures of mushrooms to the US Defense Department’s Bioshield BioDefense program, several tests show that some of these polypore mushrooms have strong antiviral activity. Within these verdant natural landscapes, trees hundreds of years old host ancestral strains of these elusive polypores. Species that are now rare, or in some cases thought to be extinct, still reside in the pristine old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest of North America. When clones from these mushrooms were grown in vitro and submitted for antiviral screening, several mycelial cultures produced antibiotics effective against Pox and other viruses. Notably, strains vary in their antiviral properties. Our natural genomes hold within them great potentials for staving off disease and have not yet been fully explored. The fungal diversity within these genomes may prove critical for isolating the most active strains, similar to the lessons learned from the isolation of Penicillium chrysogenum strains that lead to the commercialization of penicillin and saved millions of lives.
With deforestation, pollution, and industrialization, societies should reevaluate the importance of their natural forests in the context that they hold within them novel medicines of enormous socio-economic importance. The old paradigm of viewing the forest as valuable only in terms of timber seems overly simplistic given this new knowledge.