Mycelium Magic
Carol Dou, Coco Ooi
Sir Winston Churchill
Floor Location : S 220 H

Mycelium is essentially the "roots" of fungi. They contain a variety of polypeptides and other compounds that preliminary research has found to be beneficial to body cells. Lentinan, a type of beta-glucan, is found in abundance in shiitake mycelium. They are able to stimulate the immune system to produce more leucocytes, much like bacteria and viruses do, but without the risk and associated adverse effects of viruses and bacteria. rnrnIn this experiment, we tested the effects of shiitake mycelium extract at varying concentrations on the proliferation of white blood cells. Long said to have anticancer and immune system boosting qualities, shiitake may hold the key to enhancing our bodies' natural defences.rnrnIn the second stage of our experiment, we tested the exact on a tumor cell line. We used the same concentrations of shiitake mycelium extract that were proven to be effective for the proliferation of leucocytes. This is because we wanted to determine whether the same concentrations that were effective for leucocyte proliferation could also induce tumor cell death.rnrnCould this natural derivative increase the production of NK and T cells while at the same time prove cytotoxic to tumour cells? We explore this topic in this science fair.