Nutritional and hypocholesterolemic properties of termitomyces microcarpus mushrooms.
Wild edible mushrooms, Termitomyces microcarpus are widely consumed in Uganda, partly because of their taste, flavour and because they are believed to have medicinal benefits. This study investigated the nutrient composition of the Termitomyces microcarpus mushrooms and the effect of the mushroom on feed intake, weight gain, serum cholesterol and triglycerides of male albino rats. Semi-dried mushrooms collected from Kyenjojo District in western Uganda were analyzed for nutrient composition using standard procedures. To determine the effect of dietary intake of
mushrooms, a completely randomized study design was used with experimental treatments having diets containing 25, 45 and 60% air -dried mushroom flour mixed with the basal feed and 0.5% cholesterol. These were compared to a control diet consisting of only commercial (basal) feed and to a diet containing basal feed and 0.5% cholesterol. The rats were fed on the five diets for ten weeks and were monitored for changes in feed intake and weight at weekly intervals for six weeks and in serum total cholesterol, High Density Lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol and triglycerides at two weeks intervals for ten weeks. Proximate analysis revealed that the mushrooms contained 25.5% protein, 2.3% fat, 11.2% dietary fibre, 48.37% available carbohydrates and 12.67% water. The mushrooms were also found to contain 61 mg/100g of iron, 156 mg/100g of calcium and a number of other dietary minerals. Dietary inclusion of Termitomyces microcarpus mushrooms significantly reduced the feed intake and weight gain of the
rats by up to 36.8 and 29.5%, respectively. The reduction increased with the proportion of dietary mushroom. Inclusion of mushrooms in the diets of rats also lowered their total serum cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides by up to 15.6, 28.3 and 29.9%, respectively. Reduction in serum lipids did not, however, show a clear relation to the quantity of mushrooms in the diet. The reduction in the total serum cholesterol, LDL- cholesterol and triglycerides may be attributed to the high quantities of fibre in the mushrooms. These results suggest that consumption of T.
microcarpus mushrooms could contribute to reducing the prevalence of diseases linked to high blood lipids.
Key words: Serum cholesterol, mushroom, Termitomyces microcarpus, triglycerides
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