Medicinal Fungi

  • IASbaba
  • October 5, 2022
  • 0
Science and Technology
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Context: Recently, an analytical study of medicinal fungi carried out by researchers from the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai (IMSc), shows that some chemicals they secrete may find use as novel drugs.

About Medicinal Fungi:

  • They used a database, MeFSAT (Medicinal Fungi Secondary Metabolites and Therapeutics), which compiles information on 184 medicinal fungi, including mushrooms.
  • Medicinal fungi belong to two taxonomic divisions namely, Basidiomycota and Ascomycota.
  • Mushrooms belong to the Basidiomycota division.
  • An example is Agaricus bisporus, the button mushroom, which can be consumed.
  • Fungi belonging to the Ascomycota division are generally not mushrooms.
  • Among these are Isaria cicadae and Shiraia bambusicola which are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

Significance of the research :

  • Secondary metabolites are chemical compounds that fungi produce when they are stressed.
  • These are not strictly essential and hence the name ‘secondary’.
  • They enhance the fungus’ ability to survive.
  • The work has been published in the preprint server BioRXiv.
  • Cordycepin, a secondary metabolite produced by Cordyceps species of fungus, is known to have anti-tumour properties.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to “Gucchi” sometimes mentioned in the news, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a fungus.
  2. It grows in some Himalayan Forest areas.
  3. It is commercially cultivated in the Himalayan foothills of north-eastern India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (2022)

  1. 1 only
  2. 3 only
  3. 1 and 2
  4. 2 and 3

Q.2) Why is a plant called Prosopis Juliflora often mentioned in the news? (2018)

  1. Its extract is widely used in cosmetics
  2. It tends to reduce the biodiversity in the area in which it grow
  3. Its extract is used in the synthesis of pesticides
  4. None of the above


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