Mushrooms are known for their nutritional and medicinal value (Breene, 1990) and also for the diversity of bioactive compounds they contain. The mushroom Coriolus versicolor (Yun Zhi) was recorded in the Compendium of Materia Medica by Li Shi Zhen during the Ming Dynasty in China, as being beneficial to health and able to bring longevity if consumed regularly. Various products derived from this mushroom and claimed to have medicinal value are commercially available. Among them, PSK (Sakagami et al., 1991) and PSP are the most prominent. It is the intent of this article to summarize research data pertaining to PSP.
PSK (Sakagami et al., 1991) and PSP are two chemically related products of the mushroom Coriolus versico~or isolated from deeplayer cultivated mycelia of the COV-1 and CM-101 strains, by Chinese and Japanese investigators, respectively. The similarities and differences of the two products have been pointed out by the Fungi Research Institute (1993a). Both possess a molecular weight of approximately 100 kDa and their polypeptide moieties are rich in aspartic acid and glutamic acid. Monosaccharides with o~-1,4 and [3-1,3 glucosidic linkages constitute the pol~saccharide moieties of PSP and PSK: fucose is found in the latter¢ whereas arabinose and rhamnose occur in the former. Both PSP and PSK have been found to be immunoenhancing and effective against tumor cells.
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