The network of the bioindustry of Hokkaido, and cooperation and market expansion with partners.

English Page
Japanese Page

Material introduction of functional foods

From long ago, mushrooms have been used as medicinal herbs, and are a popular ingredient used widely in cooking. The mushroom health food market which appeals to functionality, distributes many mushroom related merchandise such as Agaricus, Reishi, Fuscoporia, Sparassis crispa and mycelia cultivation extracts. Mushrooms are characteristic of containing large amounts of β-glucan and amino acids. Functional research reported numerous research results which focused on immune-related and anti-metabolic syndrome measures. In 2009, the Ministry of Health Cancer Research Fund created a [Team to Research the Scientific Verification of Alternative Medicine for Cancer]. Research studies on eligible patients and health foods said to be effective for cancer began. In the field of cancer treatment, over half of the patients rely on the use of complementary and alternative medicine. 90% of the patients take in health foods, and 70% of these are mushrooms. In the health food industry, many companies upon accumulating background data on the effect and safety of the mushrooms are promoting the implementation of such foods to the home and medical facilities.

Mycelia Cultivation Extracts

Normally, the carpophore(fruit) of the mushroom is eaten, but the mycelia is the hyphal elongation that grows from the root of the carpophore. It is known that component wise, the many sugars found in the carpophore and mycelia is different. Functional ingredients that utilize mycelia include a mycelia cultivation extract made from cultivating mycelia in a cultivation liquid taken from rice bran for a long period, then freeze drying the culture filtrate.
Among the mycelia cultivation extracts, enzymes produced by basidiomycete contain a special component the product of reaction to the various components, one of which is α -glucan, a representative acetylated component. Acetylated α -glucan is comparatively low in molecules (molecular amount is approx. 5,000), and is easier to absorb than β -glucan.
A large range of research reports validated its effectiveness in immunostimulatory action, infection defense action, reduction of side effects from chemotherapy and enhancement of natural immunity.

Golden Oyster Mushrooms

Golden Oyster Mushrooms are found in the northeastern part of Japan and are favored by people in Hokkaido as a food that is eaten often. Cultivation of golden oyster mushrooms began in the late 1960's.
A variety developed by the Hokkaido Forest Products Research Institute was used and over 500 tons of mushrooms were produced a year. Component wise, the 5'guanylic acid, which is the flavor component, found in the Golden oyster mushrooms was 2 times that which is found in Buna Shimeji, and 1.5 times that which is found in Shitake mushrooms. Large amounts of β -D- glucan, dietary fiber and amino acids can also be found. In tests which included the use of extract taken from the fruit of the Golden oyster mushroom, scientists found it was effective in antineoplastic activity, elevating blood sugar levels and preventing elevation in blood pressure.
Technology to extract high potency glucosylceramide(sphingolipid) which has a different structure than rice bran and corn from the Golden oyster mushrooms has been established. Presently as an ingredient which has a moisturizing and hypo-allergenic effect, it is incorporated into use for supplements and cosmetics.


Fuscoporia is found mainly in mountainous areas of cold climate countries such as Russia, China, Scandinavia and Hokkaido. The mushrooms grow on white birch and Erman's birch, sucking the sap and slowly growing across a span of 10 years.
The mycelia stores the nutrients, and becomes an agglomeration called the sclerotium. The outside is black like coal and the inside is a light brown. They are a rare mushroom found on one in every 10 -20 thousand white birch trees. In Russian its medicinal use was approved in 1980 and has been used in treatment for cancer and ulcers. In Japan the indigenous people of Hokkaido ingested the Fuscoporia as folk remedy.
Main effective components include polysaccharide β -D-glucan, water soluble dietary fiber, flavonoid, minerals and inositol. Presently research concerning the components such as lignin, ergosterol, betulinic acid, triterpene, lanosterol is being carried out.
Functional research has validated antioxidation action and normalizing effect on immune disorders. It is also being considered in relation with clarification of improvement and preventive effects on diabetes, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and hyperuricemia as well as its relation with antiviral, hypo-allergenic and angiogenesis action, apoptosis inductive action and antibacterial increase.


In China Reishi have been used for sometime. The Japanese name is Mannentake and is a basidiomycete in the family of Polyporaceae. The carpophore including the pileus and stalk can be preserved in its original shape when dried, which is why it is called Mannentake(million year mushroom). In Chinese medical books that date back to ancient times, one of which is called the Shennong Ben Cao Jing, the bible of Chinese herbology, Reishi is listed at the top of the list of quality.
The main effective component is β -D-glucan and other polysaccharides, triterpene-ganoderic acids and minerals.
In Japan, the artificial cultivation of Reishi began to gather momentum in the 1980s. Presently, a high quality of Reishi is being artificially cultivated here in Hokkaido on trees native to Hokkaido.
Functional research has shown that Reishi has positive effects on antineoplastic activity, stimulating the immune system, analgesic and sedative action, blood- pressure-lowering, diuretic action, improvement of hepatic inflammation, antioxidant effects, lowering cholesterol, blood cleansing properties, autonomic nerve action, hypo-allergenic action and anti-stress action.

List of cooperating industries for this coverage.

The introduced content on Hokkaido's functional food ingredients was brought to you in cooperation with the following industries and products.
Industries Major Products
Amino Up Chemical Co., Ltd. AHCC (Basidiomycete origin cultivation extract)
Three-B Co., Ltd. Glucosylceramide (Golden oyster mushroom origin ceremide), Biogod (Golden oyster mushroom concentrated extract)
Hokkaido Reishi Co., Ltd. Reishi (pure Japanese Reishi)
Hokusan Co., Ltd. Kabanatake granules (kestose (crystallized oligo sugars)additive)