Special Issue "The Fungal Sense of Nonself"

A special issue of Microbiology Research (ISSN 2036-7481).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2023 | Viewed by 1324

Special Issue Editor

Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad, 21000 Novi Sad, Serbia
Interests: compounds from fungi; activity of compounds from fungi
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The diversity of fungal species around the world has previously been estimated at 1.5 million species, while based on new DNA sequencing technologies, these estimations have been altered to the range of 2.2 to 3.8 million according to the host association and 11.7 to 13.2 million species obtained by sequencing. However, only around 150,000 fungal species have been described to date, while approximately 2000 species can be used for human consumption. Since diversity is the only and ultimate genetic resource of bioactive compounds that can be further used in biotechnological processes, fungi were recognized as small cell factories for their production a very long time ago. Fungi are still an understudied resource possessing huge potential for developing products such as enzymes, favorable components, pigments, and various chemicals that can greatly improve human well-being through diverse biotechnological production processes involving fungal cells.

Mushrooms are sources of delicious food and food flavoring agents, mostly due to their unique components, volatile compounds, water-soluble sugars, polyols, organic acids, free amino acids, and 5-nuucleotides. Mushrooms are also a valuable health food in modern society; mushroom products are derived through biotechnological processes from fruiting bodies, mycelia, culture media, and spores, either from wild harvesting or from artificially cultivated mushrooms. Such products include fresh, functional, and designer foods; dietary supplements; drugs and mycopharmaceuticals; and nutraceuticals which, in addition, have a great impact on the mushroom trade. In the last three decades, a large number of pharmacologically active substances originating from lignicolous mushrooms have been identified. Bioactive high-molecular-weight polysaccharides (PSH) (β-D-glucans), heteroglucans, chitin, peptidoglucans, and proteoglucans are the best known substances originating from mushrooms, and are used as adaptogens and immunostimulators. They contain physiologically active substances that express an indirect anti-tumor effect by activating the various defensive immune responses of the organism itself through recognizing them as "biological response modulators". Besides PSH, mushrooms contain lectins, RNA components, dietary fibers, and low-molecular-weight substances such as terpenoids, steroids, and phenols, which express different bioactivities, mostly anti-oxidant and anti-microbial.

With the series of issues associated with modern-day living, such as food shortages, environmental pollution, and the hastening development of modern-day diseases such as viral infections, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, allergies, autoimmune disorders, etc., the need to urgently find new bioactive compounds from natural sources is growing. These compounds will aid in the prevention and treatment of diseases of the modern age which arise primarily as a consequence of constant human exposure to stress factors, where those living in urban environments are particularly vulnerable. In accordance with the current trends in science, where the investigation of new natural sources of functional food is an imperative for many scientific research teams around the world, the work of this publication has special importance not only in the education of researchers who are interested in medicinal mushrooms, but also citizens who are utilizing them more for the protection of their own health by using natural products. Thanks to our substantial scientific literature review, we hope to persuade both scientists around the globe and the general public to become better acquainted with the biologically active substances of fungi and mushrooms, which are used in the world today not only in nutrition, but also as pharmaceuticals and cosmeceuticals, and are at the center of interest for the pharmaceutical industry in so-called "anti-aging" treatments.

Dr. Maja Karaman
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • fungal diversity
  • myco-chemical compounds
  • fungal genetics
  • fungal food and nutriceuticals
  • fungal biotechnology
  • mycotoxins
  • anti-microbial
  • anti-cancer
  • anti-diabetogenic
  • enzyme inhibition activity
  • fungal degradation and biodeterioration
  • fungal-based biomaterials

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Update on Mycochemical Profile and Selected Biological Activities of Genus Schizophyllum Fr. 1815
Microbiol. Res. 2023, 14(1), 409-429; https://doi.org/10.3390/microbiolres14010031 - 18 Mar 2023
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The aim of this systematic review was to investigate new research on the antioxidant, anti-acetylcholine, antimicrobial, and antitumor activity of genus Schizophyllum, as well as to describe the mycochemical profiles. A summary was made on the published studies in the five-year period [...] Read more.
The aim of this systematic review was to investigate new research on the antioxidant, anti-acetylcholine, antimicrobial, and antitumor activity of genus Schizophyllum, as well as to describe the mycochemical profiles. A summary was made on the published studies in the five-year period from 2017 to 2022, with the focus on the most investigated species of this genus, S. commune. Data were obtained through various scientific online databases, including Google Scholar, Semantic Scholar, PubMed, Science Direct, Elsevier, and Wiley Online Library using specific keywords. Out of 918 records published between 2017 and 2022, a total of 44 peer-reviewed studies were included in qualitative synthesis. Most examined compounds were glucans isolated from the submerged cultivation of S. commune, even though many studies reported proteins, phenolics, and some other secondary metabolites such as flavonoids, saponins, steroids, tannins, triterpenoids, etc. Schizophyllan (SPG), one of the most studied β-glucans isolated from S. commune, has been utilized in clinical trials to treat patients receiving anticancer therapy as an immunopotentiator. Considering the enormous biopotential of genus Schizophyllum, specifically S. commune and S. radiatum, additional attention should be paid to identify the biomolecules more accurately and focus on their antitumor and anti-acetylcholinesterase properties, since they proved to have great prospects in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Fungal Sense of Nonself)
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