Medicinal mushrooms: Valuable biological resources of high exploitation potential

<p>Higher <i>Basidiomycetes</i> and <i>Ascomycetes</i> mushrooms possess various immunological and anticancer properties. They also offer important health benefits and exhibit a broad spectrum of pharmacological activities including antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, cytotoxic, immunomodulating, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antiallergic, antidepressive, antihyperlipidemic, antidiabetic, digestive, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, nephroprotective, osteoprotective, and hypotensive activities. This minireview summarizes the perspectives, recent advances, and major challenges of medicinal mushrooms with reference to their nutraceutical properties and dietary value, the production of mushroom biomass on various substrates, and the purification, characterization, and pharmaceutical effects of biologically active compounds from medicinal mushrooms.</p>