Fungi and medicines


Many fungi have a positive influence on the immune system; they are able to reduce cholesterol, fight viruses and even cancer. Scientists from the Institute of Microbiology RAS have developed a means to obtain a new medicine from fungi, known as Mycolicopene.

These are gelatine capsules that contain two percent licopene and biologically active substances of a fungus. Licopene is a carotinoid which, as already known, is contained in tomatoes and gives them their red colour. Scientists have long since noticed that people who eat many tomatoes suffer less frequently with prostate cancer. Licopene is obtained across the world from tomatoes, but crystals of this substance are very expensive.

Russian scientists propose that licopene be obtained not from tomatoes but from a fungus (Blakeslea trispora), in which it is also found. They have developed and introduced to factory production a biotechnological means to obtain licopene from the mycelium of the fungus. On the basis of this fungal concentrate, the cost of which proves to be significantly lower than a concentrate from tomatoes, the mycolicopene preparation has been created. 

Experiments on animals have displayed that mycolicopene is able to retard the development of cancer of the prostate gland by 50-70 percent.