In case it hasn't been obvious, the benefits of mushroom have been a theme throughout this blog. I've talked before about how mushrooms can help get rid of pollution, create greener funerals, and help reduce fat and cholesterol while still providing protein. Now, it seems like there's potential for medical aid from mushrooms as well.
Much like penicillin, the idea for creating custom "weapon" mushrooms to fight illnesses came about on accident. A Tradd Cotter mushroom farmer and researcher in Greenville, SC returned after a vacation to discover two different strains of fungi warring with each other in a petri dish he had thrown out. After taking a closer look, he realized that there were droplets on the invading species, but none on the original. These droplets were metabolites, a mixture the mushrooms create to fight off dangerous microbes.
At first he just used this knowledge to help his mushrooms fight specific contamination in his mushrooms, helping him improve his product. Eventually he started to wonder if the same process could be used to fight bacteria. With the rise of super bugs that are antibiotic resistant, having a treatment that can adapt alongside the bacteria would be a game changer.
Before his idea could become mainstream, there are several problems that need to be taken care of. Isolating the proper metabolites can be difficult, but is essential since some of them can be dangerous, so he'd need to find a way to make the process easier and more accurate. Delivery of the medicine is another unknown. Medicated lollipops for strep throat would be a possibility, along with other potential methods.
While he returns his focus to fighting contaminates in crops, Clemson University has taken on running trials on bacteria, because they are more equipped to deal with antibiotic resistant bacteria. They can't release any specifics due to their agreements and Cotter's patent on his technique, but they have confirmed that they are studying MRSA.
There is still a long way to go before his metabolite medicine would be feasible, but it's an interesting concept that seems to have to true potential. More information should be released in the next few months, and their progress with this is definitely something we should be keeping an eye on.
It seems there's a lot of potential in mushrooms that hasn't been unlocked yet, and I believe it's time we start putting more effort into learning how to truly utilize all their benefits. Do you think medicinal metabolites will be the next big cure, or do you think Cotter is chasing a psuedoscience dream?