Science Reporting

Sun-exposed oyster fungi can counteract tuberculosis

In an attempt to combat tuberculosis, one of the most deadly infectious diseases in the world, especially among the low-income groups and in the poorest areas, a group of researchers wanted to confirm whether oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus), one of the most famous fungal species in the world, also known in Italy as “mumps,” could be of effective help.

These fungi, once exposed to the sun, turn out to be an excellent source of vitamin D, a feature that, along with others, can help patients with tuberculosis respond better to drugs.

As Tibebeselassie Seyoum Keflie, researcher at the University of Hohenheim, Germany, one of the authors of the study together with Hans Konrad Biesalski, explains, “This source of vitamin D is ideal for low-income countries because the fungi can be easily distributed and administered in a safe way, at low cost, easy to replicate.”

Research has confirmed that vitamin D helps the body create a particular anti-microbial compound that strongly counteracts the bacterial cause of tuberculosis. Oyster fungi, in such a context, provide a safe and affordable source of vitamin D that is easily absorbed by the body.

The confirmation came from tests carried out by some people fed every morning for four months by wholemeal bread containing a quantity of vitamin D taken from oyster fungi exposed to the sun. Patients who fed on this “fortified” bread showed a sharp increase in vitamin D in the body and clear improvements in immunological responses.