In vitro antitumor activity and structure characterization of ethanol extracts from wild and cultivated Chaga medicinal mushroom, Inonotus obliquus (Pers.:Fr.) Pilát (Aphyllophoromycetideae)

Int J Med Mushrooms. 2011;13(2):121-30. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushr.v13.i2.40.


Inonotus obliquus (Pers.:Fr.) Pilát has been traditionally used as a folk remedy for treatment of cancers, cardiovascular disease and diabetes in Russia, Poland, and most of the Baltic countries, but natural reserves of this fungus have nearly been exhausted. This study was designed to investigate the artificial cultivation of I. obliquus and the antitumor activity of its tissues. The ethanol extract of cultivated sclerotium had the highest cell growth inhibitory rate (74.6%) as determined by an 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. 78% of the bags produced sclerotia and only 6.17 g/bag of sclerotium was obtained. Extracts of the cultivated fruiting body showed 44.2% inhibitory activity against tumor cells. However, the yield was as high as 18.24 g/bag, and 98% of the bags produced fruiting body. The results of gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy (GC-MS) showed that similar compounds were extracted from the wild and cultivated samples. The principal compounds observed were lanosterol, inotodiol, and ergosterol. Their percentages of the mass fraction were 86.1, 59.9, and 71.8% of the total, for the wild sclerotium, cultivated sclerotium, and cultivated fruiting body, respectively. Ergosterol was found to be much higher (27.32%) in cultivated fruiting body. We conclude that cultivated fruiting body of I. obliquus obtained by inoculation of the substrate with spawn mycelium of the fifth generation could serve as an ideal substitute for the wild I. obliquus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / chemistry*
  • Agaricales / growth & development
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects*
  • Drug Screening Assays, Antitumor
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms
  • Medicine, Traditional


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Biological Products