Widely appreciated and known by lovers of gourmet cooking for its wonderful flavor, the Shiitake
Widely appreciated and known by lovers of gourmet cooking for its wonderful flavor, the Shiitake mushroom, Lentinus edodes, is a well known edible mushroom with interesting applications outside the food industry.
Lentinus edodes is extensively researched as a source for biocatalytic enzymes such as laccase, cellulase, and ligninolytic peroxidases which find application in the green or sustainable chemistry (an approach that encourages the development of sustainable chemical processes, i.e. processes that minimize the use and production of substances with negative environmental impact, or processes that use wastes for the production of high value-added substances).
The use of laccase in the paper, textile and food industries is already long established. The application in the cosmetic field is rather new. In the textile industry, for instance, enzymes are used for operations such as discoloration, fixing color… all processes that, using chemical "traditional" auxiliaries, would be with high environmental impact, but, thanks to enzymes, become environmentally friendly and also high performing.
Inspired by the action that enzymes are able to exert on synthetic pigments, the action on natural pigments such melanin has been studied. Melanin is structurally similar to lignin and contains carbon-carbon, carbon-oxygen and oxygen-hydrogen bonds (C-C, C-O and O-H) available for bioconvertion. Catalytic modification of these bonds will alter melanin natural chromophore, resulting in a less intense overall color.
A controlled experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that Lentinus edodes can disrupt the melanin chromaphore and result in improved color. Sepia ink, which contains eumelanin, was used as a source for soluble melanin.
Sepia melanin was added to fermentation media, and the mixture was inoculated with Lentinus edodes mycelium and allowed to grow over several days. A control mixture without Sepia melanin was inoculated at the same time. Samples of both mixtures were collected daily and filtered to remove mycelia, and the color of the solutions were graded using a Gardner scale. Within four days, significant color improvement was observed in the test mixture.
ViaFerm White Shiitake: A New Active for Skin-tone Lightening
After proving that living cultures of Lentinus edodes can degrade melanin in vitro, the next step was to study the effect of Lentinus edodes mycelium extract (ViaFermWhite Shiitake) on the skin, using a model that evaluated the reduction of tan produced after strong UV exposure.
A panel of ten volunteers with Fitzpatrick skin type III received 3.5 MEDs of UVB on the back. Immediately after irradiation the test sites were treated with the test materials in formulation. The treatment regimen (once a day excluding Saturdays and Sundays) was conducted for twenty eight days. Chromameter readings were taken prior to the initial application and after various days of product use. The effect of ViaFerm White Shiitake at 2% in formulation was compared to high purity glabridin and kojic acid. ViaFerm White Shiitake showed significant skin-tone lightening activity overall, including visible lightening within the first week of treatment.
Via Ferm White Shiitake is an extract with biotechnological origin derived from the fermentation of Lentinus edodes. Its main applications are skin-tone lightening products, spot-prone skin treatment, melanin degradation products, anti-inflammatory products.