Skip to main content

Comparative characterization of physicochemical properties and bioactivities of polysaccharides from selected medicinal mushrooms


Mushroom polysaccharides have been known to possess various pharmacological activities. However, information on their chemical and biological differences between mushrooms remains limited. In this study, we aimed to examine the differences in physicochemical characteristics of polysaccharides prepared from Antrodia cinnamomea (AC-P), Coriolus versicolor (CV-P), Grifola frondosa (GF-P), Ganoderma lucidum (GL-P), and Phellinus linteus (PL-P), followed by evaluating their inhibitory effects on nitric oxide (NO) production in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages. Results showed that under similar conditions of preparation, the monosaccharide composition of polysaccharides varied between different mushrooms, and glucose was the predominant monosaccharide, followed by galactose and mannose. AC-P and GF-P contained the highest amount of (1,3;1,6)-β-d-glucans. The degree of branching of (1,3;1,6)-β-d-glucans in all polysaccharides ranged from 0.21 to 0.26, with the exception of GF-P (0.38). The molecular weights of different polysaccharides showed diverse distributions; AC-P, CV-P, and GF-P contained two major macromolecular populations (< 30 and >200 kDa) and possessed triple-helix conformation, whereas GL-P (10.2 kDa) and PL-P (15.5 kDa) only had a low molecular weight population without triple-helix structure. These polysaccharides showed different inhibitory potency on NO production in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 cells.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  • Adachi Y, Ohno N, Ohsawa M, Oikawa S, Yadomae T (1990) Change of biological activities of (1 → 3)-beta-D-glucan from Grifola frondosa upon molecular weight reduction by heat treatment. Chem Pharm Bull 38:477–481

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Bae IY, Kim HW, Yoo HJ, Kim ES, Lee S, Park DY, Lee HG (2013) Correlation of branching structure of mushroom β-glucan with its physiological activities. Food Res Int 51:195–200

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bradford MM (1976) A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Anal Biochem 72:248–254

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Buranov AU, Mazza G (2010) Extraction and characterization of hemicelluloses from flax shives by different methods. Carbohydr Polym 79:17–25

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chang YW (2003) Characteristics and determination of (1 → 6) branched (1 → 3)-β-D-glucans in Ganoderma lucidum. Doctoral Dissertation, National Taiwan University, 176 pp.

  • Cheung PCK (2013) Mini-review on edible mushrooms as source of dietary fiber: preparation and health benefits. Food Sci Hum Wellness 2:162–166

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dai J, Wu Y, Chen SW, Zhu S, Yin HP, Wang M, Tang JA (2010) Sugar compositional determination of polysaccharides from Dunaliella salina by modified RP-HPLC method of precolumn derivatization with 1-phenyl-3-methyl-5-pyrazolone. Carbohydr Polym 82:629–635

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dubois M, Gilles KA, Hamilton JK, Rebers PA, Smith F (1956) Colorimetric method for determination of sugars and related substances. Anal Chem 28:350–356

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • El Enshasy HA, Hatti-Kaul R (2013) Mushroom immunomodulators: unique molecules with unlimited applications. Trends Biotechnol 31:668–677

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Escarnot E, Aguedo M, Agneessens R, Wathelet B, Paquot M (2011) Extraction and characterization of water-extractable and water-unextractable arabinoxylans from spelt bran: study of the hydrolysis conditions for monosaccharides analysis. J Cereal Sci 53:45–52

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Giavasis I (2014) Bioactive fungal polysaccharides as potential functional ingredients in food and nutraceuticals. Curr Opin Biotechnol 26:162–173

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Kim F, Sakagami H, Tanuma SI, Konno K (1990) Stimulation of interferon-gamma-induced human myelogenous leukemic-cell differentiation by high molecular weight PSK subfraction. Anticancer Res 10:55–58

  • Ko YT, Lin YL (2004) 1,3-β-Glucan quantification by a fluorescence microassay and analysis of its distribution in foods. J Agric Food Chem 52:3313–3318

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Lam KL, Cheung PCK (2013) Non-digestible long chain beta-glucans as novel prebiotics. Bioact Carbohydr Dietary Fibre 2:45–64

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Liu JC, Sun YX, Yu HT, Zhang CJ, Yue LL, Yang XZ, Wang LP, Liu JH (2012) Purification and identification of one glucan from golden oyster mushroom (Pleurotus citrinopileatus (Fr.) Singer). Carbohydr Polym 87:348–352

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nanba H, Hamaguchi A, Kuroda H (1987) The chemical structure of an antitumor polysaccharide in fruit bodies of Grifola frondosa (maitake). Chem Pharm Bull 35:1162–1168

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ooi VEC, Liu F (2000) Immunomodulation and anti-cancer activity of polysaccharide-protein complexes. Curr Med Chem 7:715–729

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ren L, Perera C, Hemar Y (2012) Antitumor activity of mushroom polysaccharides: a review. Food Funct 3:1118–1130

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Ruthes AC, Smiderle FR, Iacomini M (2015) D-Glucans from edible mushrooms: a review on the extraction, purification and chemical characterization approaches. Carbohydr Polym 117:753–761

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Sletmoen M, Stokke BT (2013) Structure-function relationships in glycopolymers: effects of residue sequences, duplex, and triplex organization. Biopolymers 99:757–771

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Stachowiak B, Reguła J (2012) Health-promoting potential of edible macromycetes under special consideration of polysaccharides: a review. Eur Food Res Technol 234:369–380

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wang CH, Hsieh SC, Wang HJ, Chen ML, Lin BF, Chiang BH, Lu TJ (2014) Concentration variation and molecular characteristics of soluble (1,3;1,6)-β-D-glucans in submerged cultivation products of Ganoderma lucidum mycelium. J Agric Food Chem 62:634–641

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Wu SJ, Liaw CC, Pan SZ, Yang HC, Ng LT (2013a) Phellinus linteus polysaccharides and their immunomodulatory properties in human monocytic cells. J Funct Foods 5:679–688

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wu GH, Hu T, Huang ZL, Jiang JG (2013b) Characterization of water and alkali-soluble polysaccharides from Pleurotus tuber-regium sclerotia. Carbohydr Polym 96:284–290

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Yanaki T, Ito W, Tabata K, Kojima T, Norisuye T, Takano N, Fujita H (1983) Correlation between the antitumor activity of a polysaccharide schizophyllan and its triple-helical conformation in dilute aqueous solution. Biophys Chem 17:337–342

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang L, Li X, Xu X, Zeng F (2005) Correlation between antitumor activity, molecular weight, and conformation of lentinan. Carbohydr Res 340:1515–1521

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang M, Cui SW, Cheung PCK, Wang Q (2007) Antitumor polysaccharides from mushrooms: a review on their isolation process, structural characteristics and antitumor activity. Trends Food Sci Technol 18:4–19

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang Y, Gu M, Wang KP, Chen ZX, Dai LQ, Liu JY, Zeng F (2010) Structure, chain conformation and antitumor activity of a novel polysaccharide from Lentinus edodes. Fitoterapia 81:1163–1170

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang Y, Kong H, Fang Y, Nishinari K, Phillips GO (2013) Schizophyllan: a review on its structure, properties, bioactivities and recent developments. Bioact Carbohydr Dietary Fibre 1:53–71

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhao LY, Dong YH, Chen GT, Hu QH (2010) Extraction, purification, characterization and antitumor activity of polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum. Carbohydr Polym 80:783–789

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors would like to thank the Ministry of Science and Technology of Taiwan for partial funding of this study under grant number MOST 104-2622-B-002-006-CC2.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Lean-Teik Ng.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Su, CH., Lai, MN., Lin, CC. et al. Comparative characterization of physicochemical properties and bioactivities of polysaccharides from selected medicinal mushrooms. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 100, 4385–4393 (2016).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Polysaccharides
  • β-Glucans
  • Physicochemical properties
  • Medicinal mushrooms