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Mushrooms as a Compound of Steroids

Mushrooms as a Compound of Steroids

The human body is greatly affected by steroid medications. These include hormones that regulate the metabolism of minerals and water, sex hormones, bile acids, vitamin D3, and compounds that trigger inflammatory responses and have signalling capabilities. Thanks to developments in biology, it is now possible to extract the sex hormone testosterone, the signalling hormone prasterone, and the precursor to other steroids, androstadienone, from plant material. With very few modifications, these molecules may be employed to produce a wide range of distinct useful steroids.

Going Directly Into the Science

The majority of physiologically active substances have a flat ring or axis that is near important side groups. The location and arrangement of the four carbon rings and substituents that comprise steroids determine the specific physiological impact of every compound. In other words, the orientation and location of these groups concerning the rigid skeleton determine a substance’s capacity to bind to a specific receptor protein and initiate a series of biological events.

Microbiologists at the Pushchino Scientific Centre for Biological Research (Pushchino) have discovered that a fungus strain belonging to the genus Drechslera is capable of transforming steroid molecules, including androstadienone, testosterone, and prasterone. Researchers are especially interested in two fungal enzymes: one can attach the hydroxyl (-OH) group in a different, similarly fixed position (C7) on the other side of the backbone ring, while the other can restore the ketone (=O) group in a precisely defined position (C17). The C7- and C7-hydroxysteroids are the byproducts of the second enzyme. Scientists say that whether or not the ratio of the final products includes a hydroxyl group in the -or -position depends on the structure of the initial steroid substrate.

 Is This A New Recovery?

Previous research has identified fungal enzymes that mostly produce 7-hydroxysteroids. For example, Polish scientists found this kind of enzyme in the fungus Beauveria caledonica, which kills forest bees. The mould fungus utilised in this study, Drechslera, is interesting for more reasons than just how easy it is to cultivate in a lab. Its specific 7-hydroxylase activity now exceeds all analogues in terms of degree. Additionally, the usage of these particular mushrooms is supported by their capacity to regulate enzyme activity. For example, increasing the proportion of products with a certain hydroxyl group position can be achieved by concurrently introducing the steroidal substrate and mycelium to the medium for continuous growth. When the substrate is introduced to a mature mycelium, it preferentially promotes the reduction of the 17-keto group.


In conclusion, using fungi to produce bioactive chemicals for the manufacture of steroids is a promising area of research. Utilising live cells to change molecules in a specific way provides numerous advantages over traditional chemical synthesis. The discovery of two fungal enzymes that can precisely modify steroid molecules is a significant advancement in this field and might pave the way for the biotechnological synthesis of important steroidal compounds. Future research may yield less-priced and more easily accessible steroidal medications for the treatment of many ailments.

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