Trametes versicolor extract modifies human fecal microbiota composition in vitro

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2013 Jun;68(2):107-12. doi: 10.1007/s11130-013-0342-4.


Trametes versicolor is a mushroom used as a traditional Chinese medicine (Yun-zhi) for a wide array of seemingly disparate conditions. We hypothesized that many of its multiple purported activities could be mediated through stimulation of beneficial mutualist components of the microbiota. Human fecal microbiota was cultured anaerobically to determine its ability to ferment a common extract of T. versicolor, designated polysaccharide peptide (PSP), and the ability of PSP to alter the composition of the microbial community. The presence of PSP and fructooligosaccharides (FOS, a common prebiotic) in the medium, but not cellulose, significantly increased levels of Bifidobacterium spp. PSP also elevated Lactobacillus spp., while reducing Clostridium spp., Staphylococcus spp. and Enterococcus spp. Levels of Streptococcus spp., Bacteroides spp. and Escherichia did not significantly change. Fermentation of PSP increased the concentration of organic acids (lactate and short-chain fatty acids), decreased the pH, and induced β-galactosidase and β-glucosidase activities. The genera of the human microbiota that are promoted by FOS and other prebiotics are also stimulated by the Trametes versicolor extract, PSP. Thus, Trametes versicolor, a common East Asian botanical, contains putative prebiotic agents that alter human gut microbiota and pH. This prebiotic-like activity may help explain some of the plethora of the health benefits attributed to this traditional Chinese medicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Bifidobacterium / drug effects
  • Clostridium
  • Culture Media / metabolism
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Enterococcus / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Fermentation
  • Fungal Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Fungal Polysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Lactates / metabolism
  • Microbiological Techniques
  • Microbiota / drug effects*
  • Microbiota / genetics
  • Oligosaccharides / metabolism
  • Oligosaccharides / pharmacology
  • Prebiotics
  • Staphylococcus / drug effects
  • Streptococcus / drug effects
  • Trametes / chemistry*
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism
  • beta-Glucosidase / metabolism


  • Culture Media
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Fungal Polysaccharides
  • Lactates
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Prebiotics
  • fructooligosaccharide
  • beta-Glucosidase
  • beta-Galactosidase