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Agaricus subrufescens

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Title: Agaricus subrufescens  
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Agaricus subrufescens

Agaricus subrufescens

(syn. Agaricus blazei, Agaricus brasiliensis or Agaricus rufotegulis) is a species of mushroom, commonly known as almond mushroom, mushroom of the sun, God's mushroom, mushroom of life, royal sun agaricus, jisongrong or himematsutake (Chinese: 姫松茸, Japanese: 姫まつたけ, "princess matsutake") and by a number of other names. Agaricus subrufescens is a choice edible, with a somewhat sweet taste and fragrance of almonds. The fungus is also well known as a medicinal mushroom, for its purported medicinal properties, due to research which indicates it may stimulate the immune system.


  • Taxonomy 1
  • Description 2
  • Distribution and habitat 3
  • Edibility 4
    • Aroma 4.1
    • Commercial use 4.2
  • Research 5
    • Cancer research 5.1
    • Immune system 5.2
    • Direct antiviral properties 5.3
    • Other possible effects 5.4
  • See also 6
  • References 7


Agaricus subrufescens was first described by the American botanist Charles Horton Peck in 1893.[1] During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was cultivated for the table in the eastern United States.[2] It was discovered again in Brazil during the 1970s, and misidentified as Agaricus blazei Murrill, a species originally described from Florida. It was soon marketed for its purported medicinal properties under various names, including ABM (for Agaricus blazei Murrill), cogumelo do sol (mushroom of the sun), cogumelo de Deus (mushroom of God), cogumelo de vida (mushroom of life), himematsutake, royal sun agaricus, Mandelpilz, and almond mushroom.

In 2002, Didukh and Wasser correctly rejected the name A. blazei for this species, but unfortunately called the Brazilian fungus A. brasiliensis,[3] a name that had already been used for a different species, Agaricus brasiliensis Fr. (1830). Richard Kerrigan undertook genetic and interfertility testing on several fungal strains,[2] and showed that samples of the Brazilian strains called A. blazei and A. brasiliensis were genetically similar to, and interfertile with, North American populations of Agaricus subrufescens. These tests also found European samples called A. rufotegulis to be of the same species. Because A. subrufescens is the oldest name, it has taxonomical priority.

Note that Agaricus blazei Murrill is a perfectly valid name, but for a completely different mushroom. Agaricus silvaticus Schaeff. is also a perfectly valid name for a common, north temperate, woodland mushroom. Neither is a synonym of Agaricus subrufescens.


The floccose stipe and annulus of A. subrufescens

The cap is initially hemispherical, later becoming convex, with a diameter of 5 to 18 cm (2.0 to 7.1 in).[4] The cap surface is covered with silk-like fibers, although in maturity it develops small scales (squamulose). The color of the cap may range from white to grayish or dull reddish-brown; the cap margin typically splits with age. The flesh of A. subrufescens is white, and has the taste of "green nuts", with the odor of almonds.[4] The gills are not attached to the stalk (free), narrow, and crowded closely together. They start out whitish in color, then later pinkish and finally black-brown as the spores mature. Spores are ellipsoid, smooth, dark purplish-brown when viewed microscopically, with dimensions of 6–7.5 by 4–5 µm. The stipe is 6 to 15 cm (2.4 to 5.9 in) by 1 to 1.5 cm (0.4 to 0.6 in) thick, and bulbous at the base. Initially solid, the stipe becomes hollow with age; it is cottony (floccose) to scaly towards the base.[4] The annulus is abundant and double-layered; it is bent downwards towards the stem, smooth and whitish on the upper side, and covered with cottony scales on the lower side.

Distribution and habitat

Agaricus subrufescens forms fruitbodies singly or in clusters in leaf litter in rich soil, often in domestic habitats.[5] Originally described from the northeastern United States and Canada, it has been found growing in California, Hawaii, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Philippines and Brazil.[2]



Agaricus subrufescens is a choice edible, with a somewhat sweet taste and fragrance of almonds. The almond smell of the mushroom is mostly due to the presence of benzaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, benzonitrile, and methyl benzoate.[6]

Commercial use

Because Agaricus subrufescens contains a high level of beta glucans, compounds known for stimulating the immune system,[7][8][9] the fungus is used in oncological therapy in Japan and Brazil.[10] In addition to beta glucans, the mushroom's effect on the immune system is believed to be due to other polysaccharides, such as alpha glucans.[11] In Japan, Agaricus subrufescens is sold under the brand names KingAgaricus 100, Sen-Sei-Ro Gold, and ABMK, and is used by an estimated 500,000 people[12] In Japan, Agaricus subrufescens is also the most popular complementary and alternative medicine used by cancer patients.[13] Although Agaricus subrufescens is cultivated in the United States, the largest exporters are China and Brazil. As noted in a scientific review of A. subrufescens research,[14] the range of quality in A. subrufescens cultivation can affect the mushroom's ability to impact cells of the immune system.

Recently, Watanabe et al. published a report in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin on a novel hybrid of A. subrufescens called Basidiomycetes-X (BDM-X)[15] and a US patent[16] was issued on a novel hybrid of the A. subrufescens edible mushroom which was crossbred (hybridized) with another medicinal mushroom, resulting in a new hybrid claimed to possess 10 to 3000 times the potency of similar but unpatented mushrooms.


Many researchers have studied Agaricus subrufescens, as well as other medicinal mushrooms for close to 50 years, due to laboratory tests which show they may stimulate immune system cells and the production of immune system cytokines. Below is a summary of this research, which is often based on animal or cellular models.[17]

Cancer research

Animal and cellular research has shown that Agaricus subrufescens application or consumption appears to offer anticancer properties.

Experimental model Experimental effect (cell culture) Experimental effect (animal research) Experimental effect (clinical)
Colorectal cancer Benefited hematological and immunological parameters[18]
Fibrosarcoma Inhibited growth via apoptosis[19] Inhibited growth[19]
Sarcoma Inhibited angiogenesis, inhibited growth[20][12][21]
Gynaecological cancer Increased NK cell activity, quality of life[22]
Ovarian cancer Inhibited growth and metastasis via apoptosis induction[23] Inhibited metastasis, growth[23]
Lung cancer Inhibited growth via apoptosis[24] Inhibited metastasis, growth[23]
Leukaemia Inhibited growth via apoptosis[25][26][27] Inhibited growth[25][28]
Myeloma Inhibited growth[29]
Hepatocarcinoma Inhibited abnormal collagen formation[30][31] Inhibited growth[32]
Stomach cancer Inhibited growth via apoptosis[24][33]
Prostate cancer Inhibited growth via apoptosis[34] Inhibited growth[34]
Skin cancer Inhibited growth [2] when applied orally or topically

Immune system

Cellular and animal research has shown A. subrufescens may stimulate immune system cells and the production of cytokines, such as interferons and interleukins (reviewed by G. Hetland).[35]

Direct antiviral properties

Agaricus subrufescens mushrooms are known to have antiviral properties in cell culture.[36][37] The ability of Agaricus subrufescens to inhibit viruses in the human body has not been studied.

Other possible effects

Besides evidence Agaricus subrufescens may up-regulate the immune system, additional research suggests the mushroom has a beneficial effect on cholesterol,[38] inhibiting pathogenic factors,[39][40][41][42] and inhibiting angiogenesis.[21][43]

Limited clinical and animal research suggests Agaricus subrufescens consumption may lower blood glucose levels and improve insulin resistance.[38][44][45][18]

Dietary studies have listed A. subrufescens as a non-animal source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which contains combined trans- and a far greater amount of cis-fat isomers, the latter which is believed to be responsible for an increase in the metabolizing of fatty tissue in the body (resting metabolic rate) and an increase in the development of muscle mass (which burns more calories than fat mass), resulting in healthy weight loss and better overall health.

See also


  1. ^ Peck CH. (1893). "Report of the Botanist (1892)". Annual Report on the New York State Museum of Natural History 46: 85–149. 
  2. ^ a b c Kerrigan, RW (2005). "Agaricus subrufescens, a cultivated edible and medicinal mushroom, and its synonyms". Mycologia 97 (1): 12–24.  
  3. ^ Wasser, Solomon P.; Didukh, Marina Ya.; de Amazonas, Maria Angela L.; Nevo, Eviatar; Stamets, Paul; da Eira, Augusto F. (2002). "Is a Widely Cultivated Culinary-Medicinal Royal Sun Agaricus (the Himematsutake Mushroom) Indeed Agaricus blazei Murrill?". International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms 4 (4): 267–290.  
  4. ^ a b c Murrill, W. A. (1922). "Dark-Spored Agarics: III. Agaricus". Mycologia 14 (4): 200–221.  
  5. ^ Smith, Alexander Hanchett (1975). A Field Guide to Western Mushrooms. Ann Arbor, Mich: University of Michigan Press. p. 228.  
  6. ^ Chen, CHU-CHIN; Wu, Chung-MAY (1984). "Volatile Components of Mushroom (Agaricus subrufecens)". Journal of Food Science 49 (4): 1208.  
  7. ^ Hetland, Geir; Sandven, P. (2002). "beta-1,3-Glucan reduces growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in macrophage cultures". FEMS Immunology and Medical Microbiology 33 (1): 41–5.  
  8. ^ Morikawa, Kaoru; Takeda, Reiko; Yamazaki, Masatoshi; Mizuno, Den'Ichi (1985). "Induction of Tumoricidal Activity of Polymorphonuclear Leukocytes by a Linear {beta}-1,3-D-Glucan and Other Immunomodulators in Murine Cells". Cancer Research 45 (4): 1496–501.  
  9. ^ Amino, M; Noguchi, R; Yata, J; Matsumura, J; Hirayama, R; Abe, O; Enomoto, K; Asato, Y (1983). "Studies on the effect of lentinan on human immune system. II. In vivo effect on NK activity, MLR induced killer activity and PHA induced blastic response of lymphocytes in cancer patients". Gan to kagaku ryoho. Cancer & chemotherapy 10 (9): 2000–6.  
  10. ^ Weil, Andrew (2002). "Mushrooms to Curb Cancer?". 
  11. ^ Firenzuoli, F; Gori, L; Lombardo, G (2008). "The Medicinal Mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill: Review of Literature and Pharmaco-Toxicological Problems". Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 5 (1): 3–15.  
  12. ^ a b Takaku, T; Kimura, Y; Okuda, H (2001). "Isolation of an antitumor compound from Agaricus blazei Murill and its mechanism of action". The Journal of nutrition 131 (5): 1409–13.  
  13. ^ Hyodo I, Amano N, Eguchi K, Narabayashi M, Imanishi J, Hirai M; et al. (2005). "Nationwide survey on complementary and alternative medicine in cancer patients in Japan". J Clin Oncol 23 (12): 2645–54.  
  14. ^ Hetland, G; Johnson, E; Lyberg, T; Bernardshaw, S; Tryggestad, AM; Grinde, B (2008). "Effects of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill on immunity, infection and cancer". Scandinavian journal of immunology 68 (4): 363–70.  
  15. ^ Watanabe, T; Nakajima, Y; Konishi, T (2008). "In vitro and in vivo anti-oxidant activity of hot water extract of basidiomycetes-X, newly identified edible fungus". Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 31 (1): 111–7.  
  16. ^ US patent 6120772, Ito, Hitoshi; Sumiya, Toshimitsu, "Oral drugs for treating AIDS patients", issued 19 September 2000 
  17. ^ Borchers, AT; Krishnamurthy, A; Keen, CL; Meyers, FJ; Gershwin, ME (2008). "The immunobiology of mushrooms". Experimental Biology and Medicine 233 (3): 259–76.  
  18. ^ a b Fortes, RC; Novaes, MR; Recôva, VL; Melo, AL (2009). "Immunological, hematological, and glycemia effects of dietary supplementation with Agaricus sylvaticus on patients' colorectal cancer". Experimental Biology and Medicine 234 (1): 53–62.  
  19. ^ a b Fujimiya Y, Suzuki Y, Oshiman K, Kobori H, Moriguchi K, Nakashima H, Matumoto Y, Takahara S, Ebina T, Katakura R (May 1998). "Selective tumoricidal effect of soluble proteoglucan extracted from the basidiomycete, Agaricus blazei Murill, mediated via natural killer cell activation and apoptosis". Cancer Immunol Immunother (Springer Verlag) 46 (3): 147–159.  
  20. ^ Gonzaga ML, Bezerra DP, Alves AP; et al. (January 2009). "In vivo growth-inhibition of Sarcoma 180 by an alpha-(1-->4)-glucan-beta-(1-->6)-glucan-protein complex polysaccharide obtained from Agaricus blazei Murill". Nat Med (Tokyo) 63 (1): 32–40.  
  21. ^ a b Niu YC, Liu JC, Zhao XM, Wu XX (January 2009). "A low molecular weight polysaccharide isolated from Agaricus blazei suppresses tumor growth and angiogenesis in vivo". Oncol. Rep. 21 (1): 145–52.  
  22. ^ Ahn WS, Kim DJ, Chae GT, Lee JM, Bae SM, Sin JI, Kim YW, Namkoong SE, Lee IP (July–August 2004). "Natural killer cell activity and quality of life were improved by consumption of a mushroom extract, Agaricus blazei Murill Kyowa, in gynecological cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy". Int J Gynecol Cancer 14 (4): 589–94.  
  23. ^ a b c Kobayashi H, Yoshida R, Kanada Y, Fukuda Y, Yagyu T, Inagaki K, Kondo T, Kurita N, Suzuki M, Kanayama N, Terao T (August 2005). "Suppressing effects of daily oral supplementation of beta-glucan extracted from Agaricus blazei Murill on spontaneous and peritoneal disseminated metastasis in mouse model". J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 131 (8): 527–538.  
  24. ^ a b Itoh H, Ito H, Hibasami H (December 2008). "Blazein of a new steroid isolated from Agaricus blazei Murrill (himematsutake) induces cell death and morphological change indicative of apoptotic chromatin condensation in human lung cancer LU99 and stomach cancer KATO III cells". Oncol. Rep. 20 (6): 1359–61.  
  25. ^ a b Kim CF, Jiang JJ, Leung KN, Fung KP, Lau CB (March 2009). "Inhibitory effects of Agaricus blazei extracts on human myeloid leukemia cells". J Ethnopharmacol 122 (2): 320–6.  
  26. ^ Jin CY, Moon DO, Choi YH, Lee JD, Kim GY (August 2007). "Bcl-2 and caspase-3 are major regulators in Agaricus blazei-induced human leukemic U937 cell apoptosis through dephoshorylation of Akt". Biol Pharm Bull 30 (8): 1432–1437.  
  27. ^ Gao L, Sun Y, Chen C, Xi Y, Wang J, Wang Z (November 2007). "Primary mechanism of apoptosis induction in a leukemia cell line by fraction FA-2-b-ss prepared from the mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill". Braz J Med Biol Res 40 (11): 1545–1555.  
  28. ^ Tian, X (1994). "Clinical observation on treatment of acute nonlymphocytic leukemia with Agaricus blazei Murill". Journal of Lanzhou University (Medical Sciences) 20: 169–171.  
  29. ^ Murakawa K, Fukunaga K, Tanouchi M, Hosokawa M, Hossain Z, Takahashi K (2007). "Therapy of myeloma in vivo using marine phospholipid in combination with Agaricus blazei Murill as an immune respond activator". J Oleo Sci 56 (4): 179–188.  
  30. ^ Angeli JP, Ribeiro LR, Bellini MF, Mantovani MS (2009). "Beta-glucan extracted from the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei prevents the genotoxic effects of benzo[a]pyrene in the human hepatoma cell line HepG2". Arch Toxicol 83 (1): 81–6.  
  31. ^ Sorimachi K, Akimoto K, Koge T (February 2008). "Inhibitory effect of Agaricus blazei Murill components on abnormal collagen fiber formation in human hepatocarcinoma cells". Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 72 (2): 621–623.  
  32. ^ Pinheiro F, Faria RR, de Camargo JL, Spinardi-Barbisan AL, da Eira AF, Barbisan LF (2003). "Chemoprevention of preneoplastic liver foci development by dietary mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill in the rat". Food Chem Toxicol 41 (11): 1543–50.  
  33. ^ Jin CY, Choi YH, Moon DO, Park C, Park YM, Jeong SC; et al. (2006). "Induction of G2/M arrest and apoptosis in human gastric epithelial AGS cells by aqueous extract of Agaricus blazei". Oncol Rep 16 (6): 1349–55.  
  34. ^ a b Yu CH, Kan SF, Shu CH, Lu TJ, Sun-Hwang L, Wang PS (October 2008). "Inhibitory mechanisms of Agaricus blazei Murill on the growth of prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo". J. Nutr. Biochem. 20 (10): 753–64.  
  35. ^ Hetland G, Johnson E, Lyberg T, Bernardshaw S, Tryggestad AM, Grinde B (2008). "Effects of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill on immunity, infection and cancer". Scand J Immunol 68 (4): 363–70.  
  36. ^ Faccin LC, Benati F, Rincão VP (July 2007). "Antiviral activity of aqueous and ethanol extracts and of an isolated polysaccharide from Agaricus brasiliensis against poliovirus type 1". Letters in Applied Microbiology 45 (1): 24–8.  
  37. ^ Sorimachi K, Ikehara Y, Maezato G (July 2001). "Inhibition by Agaricus blazei Murill fractions of cytopathic effect induced by western equine encephalitis (WEE) virus on VERO cells in vitro". Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 65 (7): 1645–7.  
  38. ^ a b Liu, Y; Fukuwatari, Y; Okumura, K; Takeda, K; Ishibashi, KI; Furukawa, M; Ohno, N; Mori, K; et al. (2008). "Immunomodulating Activity of Agaricus brasiliensis KA21 in Mice and in Human Volunteers". Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 5 (2): 205–219.  
  39. ^ Sorimachi, K; Ikehara, Y; Maezato, G; Okubo, A; Yamazaki, S; Akimoto, K; Niwa, A (2001). "Inhibition by Agaricus blazei Murill fractions of cytopathic effect induced by western equine encephalitis (WEE) virus on VERO cells in vitro". Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 65 (7): 1645–7.  
  40. ^ Chen, L; Shao, HJ; Su, YB (2004). "Coimmunization of Agaricus blazei Murill extract with hepatitis B virus core protein through DNA vaccine enhances cellular and humoral immune responses". International immunopharmacology 4 (3): 403–9.  
  41. ^ Chen, L; Shao, H (2006). "Extract from Agaricus blazei Murill can enhance immune responses elicited by DNA vaccine against foot-and-mouth disease". Veterinary immunology and immunopathology 109 (1–2): 177–82.  
  42. ^ Tryggestad AMA, Espevik T, Forland DT, Ryan L, Hetland G (2007). "The medical mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill activates NF-κB via TLR2". 13th International Congress of Immunology (Rio de Janeiro: Medimond): 2–23. 
  43. ^ Kimura, Y; Kido, T; Takaku, T; Sumiyoshi, M; Baba, K (2004). "Isolation of an anti-angiogenic substance from Agaricus blazei Murill: its antitumor and antimetastatic actions". Cancer science 95 (9): 758–64.  
  44. ^ Kim, YW; Kim, KH; Choi, HJ; Lee, DS (2005). "Anti-diabetic activity of beta-glucans and their enzymatically hydrolyzed oligosaccharides from Agaricus blazei". Biotechnology letters 27 (7): 483–7.  
  45. ^ Hsu, CH; Liao, YL; Lin, SC; Hwang, KC; Chou, P (2007). "The mushroom Agaricus Blazei Murill in combination with metformin and gliclazide improves insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes: a randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled clinical trial". Journal of alternative and complementary medicine 13 (1): 97–102.  
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