Scientists have completed the safety evaluation of toxic elements in Poria

Courtesy of Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences

As a medicinal and food homologous fungus, Poria is often used in the treatment of diabetes, cancer, inflammation, liver damage, kidney disease, digestive tract disease, etc., and has high medicinal value and health care value. Recently, dr. Wang Yuanzhong’s team from the Institute of Medicinal Plants of Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences (hereinafter referred to as the Institute of Medicinal Plants) conducted research on poria resources and published them in Science of the Total Environment and Frontiers in Microbiology.

The team analyzed the distribution of various elements and explored the correlation between the elements by measuring the content of 21 essential or non-essential elements in the sclerotium and poria peel in different production areas of southern China.

The results found that the toxic elements such as arsenic, lead and cadmium in the test samples were extremely low. Poria sclerotia and poria bark have different patterns of elemental distribution and accumulation.

Compared with poria bark, the element content in poria sclerotia is relatively low, the correlation between elements is stronger, and it shows a higher homeostasis regulation mechanism.

Further, the team combined machine learning and network pharmacology to screen for potential markers in different parts of Poria sativa.

Artificial intelligence algorithms use different types of data to complete multiple tasks such as search and discrimination according to different strategies, which is suitable for solving massive data analysis problems faced in network pharmacology research. Based on fingerprinting, machine learning, and cyberpharmacology, the team screened for potential markers in different parts of Poria from a measurable and effective perspective.

The analysis found that the sclerotia and poria bark had a significant classification effect. They used the network pharmacology formula to construct the “active ingredient-target-pathway” network to predict potential markers, established the fingerprint of poria sclerotia and poria peel, screened and obtained three chemical components – pinenisolic acid, poria neoacid acid A and poria acid, and found that the content of these three chemical components in different parts was different.

The team also found that 11 ingredients, such as dehydrocolic acid and 16α-hydroxysinnic acid, have high connectivity in the network pharmacology “ingredient-target-pathway”, achieve the purpose of disease intervention at 6 important targets and 5 key signal pathways, and confirm that the three components of rosinnic acid, porianic acid A and poria acid are active ingredients, which can be used as potential markers for different parts of poria.

The research results are of positive significance for the safety evaluation of toxic elements in Poria and the study of their nutritional needs, and can provide a theoretical basis for explaining their clinical application and rationally developing and utilizing non-medicinal parts of Yunnan characteristic medicinal plants (fungi).

The research has been funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Applied Basic Research Program of Yunnan Province, and the Major Science and Technology Project of Yunnan Province. (Source: China Science Daily, Li Chen, Li Rongfu)

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