Mushrooms, the fruiting bodies of fungi, are known for a long time in different cultures around the world to possess medicinal properties and are used to treat various human diseases. Mushrooms that are parts of traditional medicine in Asia had been extensively studied and this has led to identification of their bioactive ingredients. North America, while home to one of the world’s largest and diverse ecological systems, has not subjected its natural resources especially its diverse array of mushroom species for bioprospecting purposes: Are mushrooms native to North America a good source for drug discovery? In this review, we compile all the published studies up to September 2020 on the bioprospecting of North American mushrooms. Out of the 79 species that have been investigated for medicinal properties, 48 species (60%) have bioactivities that have not been previously reported. For a mere 16 selected species, 17 new bioactive compounds (10 small molecules, six polysaccharides and one protein) have already been isolated. The results from our literature search suggest that mushrooms native to North America are indeed a good source for drug discovery.
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