Hericium erinaceus is a medicinal fungal species that produces the active biological metabolite erinacine A with strong antioxidant activity. The classical extraction techniques used to date to obtain metabolites from this fungal species require high consumption of resources and energy and, in the end, prove to be expensive and inefficient, especially on a biomedical scale. The aim of this research is based on the development of an ultrasonic extraction (UE) method for the identification and extraction of biological compounds with high antioxidant activity from the mycelia of H. erinaceus biomass developed through a solid cultivation process. The extraction process was optimized by varying parameters to determine the best extraction yield of metabolites involved in such antioxidant activity, using the response surface methodology (RSM). The physicochemical analyses were oriented towards the investigation of polyphenols, flavonoids, and the diterpenoid erinacine A. It is highlighted that there is a very good mutual connection between the concentration of polyphenols and flavonoids in the extracts studied and the diterpenoid erinacine A. Also, this study describes an efficient and qualitative extraction method for extracting natural antioxidants from the H. erinaceus mushroom, since toxic solvents were not used in the developed extraction procedure. This biomass can be used both as a food source and as a possible phytotherapeutic tool in the prevention or treatment of various neurodegenerative disorders that require drugs with strong antioxidant activity.
Keywords: HPLC analysis; Hericium erinaceus; antioxidant activity; erinacine A; ultrasonic extraction.