Trametes versicolor is a mushroom used as a traditional Chinese medicine (Yun-zhi) for a wide array of seemingly disparate conditions. We hypothesized that many of its multiple purported activities could be mediated through stimulation of beneficial mutualist components of the microbiota. Human fecal microbiota was cultured anaerobically to determine its ability to ferment a common extract of T. versicolor, designated polysaccharide peptide (PSP), and the ability of PSP to alter the composition of the microbial community. The presence of PSP and fructooligosaccharides (FOS, a common prebiotic) in the medium, but not cellulose, significantly increased levels of Bifidobacterium spp. PSP also elevated Lactobacillus spp., while reducing Clostridium spp., Staphylococcus spp. and Enterococcus spp. Levels of Streptococcus spp., Bacteroides spp. and Escherichia did not significantly change. Fermentation of PSP increased the concentration of organic acids (lactate and short-chain fatty acids), decreased the pH, and induced β-galactosidase and β-glucosidase activities. The genera of the human microbiota that are promoted by FOS and other prebiotics are also stimulated by the Trametes versicolor extract, PSP. Thus, Trametes versicolor, a common East Asian botanical, contains putative prebiotic agents that alter human gut microbiota and pH. This prebiotic-like activity may help explain some of the plethora of the health benefits attributed to this traditional Chinese medicine.
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We thank Winsor Health Products, Ltd. for their gift of PSP and partial support, Dr. Gherman Wiederschain for helpful assistance with the manuscript, and the NIH for grants HD013021, HD059140, and AI075563.
Conflict of interest
Dr. Zhuoteng Yu declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dr. Bo Liu declares that he has no conflict of interest. Dr. Purna Mukherjee declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dr. David S. Newburg declares that he has no conflict of interest.
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Yu, ZT., Liu, B., Mukherjee, P. et al. Trametes versicolor Extract Modifies Human Fecal Microbiota Composition In vitro . Plant Foods Hum Nutr 68, 107–112 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11130-013-0342-4