Evaluation of free radical scavenging activity of morel mushroom, Morchella esculenta mycelia: a potential source of therapeutically useful antioxidants

Pharm Biol. 2010 Apr;48(4):453-60. doi: 10.3109/13880200903170789.


Cellular damage caused by reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been implicated in several diseases and antioxidants are known to protect the body from this damage. Antioxidants thus, have gained significant importance in human health. The search for effective, non-toxic natural compounds with antioxidant activity has intensified in recent years. Mycelia of a number mushrooms have recently been successfully used for the development of novel pharmaceutical products. We examined the aqueous-ethanol extract of cultured mycelia of the morel mushroom, Morchella esculenta (L.) Pers. (Morchellaceae) for its ability to scavenge super oxide, hydroxyl, nitric oxide, 2,2'-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), and 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS) radicals as well as for inhibition of lipid peroxidation. The extract efficiently scavenged all these radicals and also inhibited lipid peroxidation. Ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay indicated the hydrogen donating capacity of the extract. The pulse radiolysis studies using ABTS and carbonate radical (CO(3)(*-)) showed that the extract significantly carried out the decay of these radicals in a concentration-dependent manner. In conclusion, the investigation showed that the morel mushroom mycelium is an excellent source of antioxidants which are capable of imparting protection at different levels. The findings suggest the potential therapeutic use of morel mushroom, M. esculenta mycelia as an efficient antioxidant.

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / isolation & purification
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Free Radical Scavengers / isolation & purification
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Free Radicals / chemistry*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mycelium / chemistry*
  • Pharmacognosy
  • Rats


  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Free Radicals