ISSN 2631-3944

Fomes fomentarius and Polyporus squamosus Models of Marvel Medicinal Mushrooms

Waill A. Elkhateeb1*, Marwa O. Elnahas1, Paul W. Thomas2,3, Ghoson M. Daba1

1 Chemistry of Natural and Microbial Products Department,  Pharmaceutical Industries Researches Division, National Research Centre, El Buhouth St, Giza, Egypt
2 Mycorrhizal Systems Ltd, Lancashire, United Kingdom
3 University of Stirling, Stirling, United Kingdom

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Elkhateeb WA, Elnahas MO, Thomas PW, Daba GM. Fomes fomentarius and Polyporus squamosus Models of Marvel Medicinal Mushrooms. Biomed Res Rev. 2020 Jan;3(1):119


The medicinal uses of the mushroom still need to be worked out for their biological activities. The purpose of this review was to investigate the biological activities of extracts prepared from fruiting bodies of Fomes fomentarius and Polyporus squamosus and demonstrates that these medicinal mushrooms, similar to plants, have a great potential for the production of useful bioactive metabolites and that they are a prolific resource for drugs.


Medicinal mushrooms; Fomes fomentarius; Polyporus squamosus; Biological activities


Mushrooms that have existed for centuries have spread all over the world. Mushrooms were originally defined as macro fungi with a distinctive fruiting body. While mushrooms differ as poisonous and non-poisonous, it is possible to classify them as edible and nonedible mushrooms. Recently, many researches have been conducted on the benefits and importance of many species of mushrooms [1-5].

Medicinal mushrooms are widely used as food and herb medicine in China, Japan and other Asian countries. Medicinal mushrooms are a source of polysaccharide with antiinflammatory and immune system stimulanting properties and have antioxidant, antiinflammatory and anti diabetic effect [4,6]. A lot of research has been done on medically edible fungi. In addition, non-edible mushrooms have been found to be of medical importance in recent years. Today, it is important to investigate alternative drugs and natural therapeutics for cancer treatment [3,6].

Mushrooms need to produce antibacterial and antifungal compounds to survive in their natural environment. Antimicrobial compounds could be isolated from many mushroom species and some proved to be of benefit for humans. Edible mushrooms are our important food source. With its easily digestible and nutritious feature, it is widely used in today’s tables. Because of their taste and flavour, the edible mushrooms are consumed as meals in addition to their consumption. Mushrooms are a rich source of protein, lipids, amino acids, glycogen, vitamins and minerals [7-9]. 

Medicinal mushrooms accumulate a wide variety of bioactive compounds including terpenoids, steroids, phenols, nucleotides and their derivatives glycoprotein’s and polysaccharides that display a broad range of biological activities. These different bioactive compounds have been extracted from the fruiting body, mycelia and culture medium of various medicinal mushrooms [4,10]. Edible mushrooms, which demonstrate medicinal or functional properties include species of Lentinula, Hericium, Grifola, Flammulina, Pleurotus and Tremella while others known only for their medicinal properties, viz. Ganoderma lucidum [6,11,12], Trametes versicolor [13], and Fomes fomentarius, are decidedly nonedible because of their coarse texture and bitter taste [14].

In this review, it was aimed to give basic information on the identification, morphological and ecological characteristics, nutritional value and medicinal properties of Fomes mushrooms and Polyporus squamosus mushrooms.

Fomes mushrooms

Fomes mushrooms have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. In recent years, the active compounds of Fomes fungus have been studied extensively and most of their biological activities have been studied. Fomes species, which often cause decay and destruction of wood, often cause white decay on trees [1-2].

Fomes fomentarius

Fomes fomentarius is a basidiomycete white-rot fungus belonging to the polyporaceae family. It has been used as a traditional medicine for centuries in treating various diseases such as gastroenteric disorder, hepatocirrhosis, oral ulcer, inflammation, and various cancers. Fomes fomentarius woody fruiting body is often shaped like a horse’s hoof, hence one of its common names, hoof fungus. Fomes fomentarius also goes by the names Tinder Conk, Tinder Fungus, Tinder Polypore and Ice Man Fungus. It grows wild throughout northern North America and parts of Eurasia, as well as in the cooler areas of Africa. Fomes fomentarius looks quite different than most familiar mushrooms. It has no stem or stipe, nor does it have gills, but instead a flat lower surface covered with pores, which are the openings of densely-packed, spore-producing tubes. The fruiting body is perennial, adding a new layer of tubes every year, and so the flesh is tough and woody [15]. Fomes fomentarius can be cultivated on a wide variety of agricultural substrates/by-products and wastes for the production of feed, enzymes and medicinal compounds, or for waste degradation and detoxification [16]. Fomes fomentarius (Polyporales, Agaricomycetes, Basidiomycota) is economically and ecologically important not only as a source of medicinal and neutraceutical products but also in nutrient cycling in forest ecosystems as decomposers of dead wood [17].

Fomes fomentarius ecology and macroscopic description

Ecology: In hardwood wood bodies (especially birch and beech), it causes white rotting, living alone or with more than one species. It has a thick rigid body. Life style is parasitic and saprotrophic. Macroscopic description: Basidiocarps: 5-45 cm in diameter, 2-25 cm in height and is shaped like a horse nail (Figure 1). Each year, there are different gray colored concentric zones with different thicknesses stacked on top of each other, gray-gray brown. When it is young, there is a white circular ring on the edge. The outer part is hard and woody. Trama: Hard, cinnamon brown, mature when poured in the form of lighter powder. The smell of fruit while fresh. Hymenium: Porous, round, 2-3 cm in mm, tubes 2-5 (8) mm long and gray brown. Spores: 5.5-6 × 18.5-19 µ, elliptic-cylindrical, flat, hyaline [17].