Auricularia polytricha (Mont.) Sacc.

Current name: Auricularia nigricans (Sw.) Birkebak, Looney & Sánchez-García

 

Auricularia polytricha (wood ear mushroom/Jew's ear fungus/Jelly fungus/jelly ear) is gregarious in nature. Usually it grows as a weak parasite to saprophyte. It occurs in clusters growing on tree trunk and dead branches. The general habitat for A. polytricha is moist-deciduous to wet evergreen forests of the Western Ghats.  The specimen was collected from Parsik hills, Thane district (19.936.31°N 73.11777°E) from the host tree Samanea saman. The area of Parsik hills is ~15 sq. km reserved forests, scrub grassland, vegetation- Samania saman plantations.

 

Morphology:

Fruit body is gelatinous in nature. Pileus is 7-40 mm in diameter, convex, dark brown to dark lilac in color and densely pilose. Hymenium is smooth and dark lilac in color. Stipe 5-20 x 4-10 mm, cylindrical, becoming compressed and is concolorous with pileus.

 

Culinary value:

Edible, however, not much exposed to cuisine outside Asia because of their unique texture and do not inhibit the typical flavor profiles that many mushrooms share. These are mainly used for soups and stir fries to add a textural and visual component1.

 

Medicinal importance:

 

  1. Auricularia polytricha extract exhibited the ability to adsorb glucose and to suppress the activity of α-amylase; thus it might contribute a beneficial effect on postprandial levels of blood sugar2.
  2. Auricularia auricula and A. polytricha have been used in Chinese folk medicines for thousands of years and has traditionally been used to treat hemorrhoids and as a stomach tonic3. Chinese people also believed that if this mushroom is eaten regularly or brewed in a tea, enhance health and treat ailments4.
  3. Auricularia polytricha has proved to have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties against to Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, faecalis, Pseudomonas aeroginosa, and Staphylocochus aureus5.

 

Industrial importance:

 

A study investigated the potential of the fruiting bodies of Auricularia polytricha as adsorbents to remove emulsified oil from water and concluded that the fruiting bodies can be a used to remove emulsified oil from water. This technology can be applied to industries that process petroleum, metals, food and textiles and release oily water6.

 

 

Unique features:

 

Auricularia polytricha produces an anticoagulant effect and hence like aspirin, this mushroom should not be ingested prior to surgery or by patients with poor blood clotting7.

 

Interesting facts:

 

Auricularia polytricha is commonly used in Chinese cooking. Szechwan and Hunan cuisines use it more for soaking up their richer sauces than for texture8.

 

Commercial products:

 

  1. Nutra green biotech, China supplies polytricha extract9.

Product name

Auricularia Polytricha  Extract

Dosage

1000-2000 mg daily

Main benefits

Antioxidant, anticancer, anti-diabetes, Immune System Enhancement

Applied industries

Medicine, food additive, dietary supplement

 

  1. MycoMedica also sells extract of polytricha10.

 

Patents:

 

  1. The process of extracting polytricha extract is developed. This extract has anti-allergic action and is usable in drugs and food applications11.
  2. The method is developed for extracting polytricha polysaccharide and non-water soluble dietary fibers. This method can also use leftover of waste liquor generated in the extraction process as a liquid fertilizer source in planting industry or a nutrient in the breeding industry, so that basic zero emission of pollutants can be achieved12.

 

 

Publications:

 

  1. Taxonomy and diversity of different species of Auricularia is studied and information on its ethenomycological uses is documented13.   
  2. The edible mushroom polytricha was studied for their nutritional values in terms of protein, carbohydrate, lipids, fat, crude fiber, moisture, and ash content14.
  3. The genetic diversity of 20 wild A. polytricha strains from Yunnan Province and four cultivated strains from Henan and Sichuan Province were profiled by using 10 pairs of sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) primers15.
  4. The taxonomy and diversity of different species of A. auricula, A. auricula-judae, A. polytricha and Auricularia sp. from woodland of Nameri National Park, Assam were studied and their ethenomycological information was discussed13.
  5. The study was conducted to find out the suitable tree species as a substrate for growth of polytricha. The study used wood meals of 3 tropical hardwood species (Falcataria moluccana, Shorea sp., and Tectona grandis) from Indonesia as basal cultivation substrates. The fastest mycelia growth was found in the substrate made of Shorea sp16.

 

 

Classification17:

 

Kingdom

Fungi

Phylum

Basidiomycota

Class

Basidiomycetes

Order

Auriculariales

Family

Auriculariaceae

Genus

Auricularia

Species

polytricha

current name: nigricans

 

 

Related links for more information:

 

http://www.mycomedica.eu/eshop-auricularia.html

http://www.mycobank.org/Biolomics.aspx?Table=Mycobank&MycoBankNr_=156825

http://www.mykoweb.com/TFWNA/P-54.html

 

 

 

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