Preparations derived from Lentinula edodes (Berk.) Pegl. mycelium are worldwide used as dietary supplements containing compounds active as immune system enhancers, demonstrating chemopreventive and anticancer activity. L. edodes mycelium enriched with organic forms of selenium like selenized yeast possess putative, higher cancer preventive properties. The objective of this study was to test the effect of enrichment in selenium on antioxidant, reducing and free radical scavenging activity of water and alcohol extracts from mycelium of L. edodes (Berk.). To elucidate the cause of enhanced antioxidant activity of extracts, a preliminary selenium speciation by specific oxido-reduction reaction was performed. Se-enrichment enhanced antioxidant activity, reducing power and free radical scavenging effect of mycelial extracts by almost 100-400%. Increase of activity was particularly high for diluted extracts (concentrations 0.1-0.5 mg/ml). The chemical composition of extracts from both Se-enriched and non-enriched mycelium was compared by determination of polyphenols, proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. Results showed that Se-enrichment enhanced antioxidant activities of mycelial extracts, likely by high amounts of organic Se-compounds (-II oxidation state) and elemental red selenium, and by increased polyphenols content. Our results suggest that Se-enrichment is a good method for enhancement of important activities of human dietary supplements, including Shiitake preparations.
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