The bases or stipes of mushrooms are normally discarded as low-economic value animal feed and compost. There are no known reports on deriving polysaccharides from these mushroom wastes for use as prebiotics.
Researchers from Taiwan University carried out a study, published on Journal of Food Science (Volume 78, Issue 7, pages M1041–M1048) showed that the relatively low concentration (0.1% to 0.5%) of polysaccharides from Lentinula edodes stipe, Pleurotus eryngii base, and Flammulina velutipes base can enhance the survival rate of Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, and Bifidobacterium longum subsp. longum during cold storage. The polysaccharides had synergistic effects with the peptides and amino acids from a yogurt culture to maintain probiotics above 107 CFU/mL during cold storage, and they also had significant protective effects on these probiotics in simulated gastric and bile juice conditions to achieve beneficial effects in the host.
These results showed that using the bases or stipes of mushrooms as prebiotics is less expensive than other food sources. The mushroom wastes can enhance the survival of probiotics during cold storage and the wastes also can improve the tolerance of probiotics in simulated gastric and bile juices.