A Multifaceted Fungus Pig’s Ears: Gomphus clavatus Gray

Review Article

J Pathol & Microbiol. 2021; 3(2): 1022.

A Multifaceted Fungus Pig’s Ears: Gomphus clavatus Gray

Parvin MS1,2* and Haque ME3

¹Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Joydebpur, Gazipur, Bangladesh

²Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany

³University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, USA

*Corresponding author: Parvin MS, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute, Joydebpur, Gazipur, Bangladesh; Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany

Received: October 30, 2021; Accepted: November 19, 2021; Published: November 26, 2021


Gomphus clavatus, commonly known as pig’s ears, is a species of fungi in the genus Gomphus, family Gomphaceae native to Eurasia and North America. Pig’s ear derives its name from the funnel-shaped and folded fruiting body, which resembles a pig’s ear in shape and texture. Gomphus clavatus mushrooms are edible; these are used as soup, sauce and baking dishes. Gomphus clavatus Gray is not only used as a nutritious food but also might be an important source of biologically active compounds with potential additional medical value. In recent research, the fruit bodies of Gomphus clavatus Gray were collected from the wild. A novel heteropolysaccharide, namely ‘GCG-1’, from the fruit bodies of Gomphus clavatus Gray was isolated through Sephadex G-200 and DEAEcellulose columns. Fungal polysaccharide is a type of active organic compound that is composed of long chains of monosaccharide units bound together by glycosidic linkages. Recently, an increasing number of fungal polysaccharides have been identified to show a variety of biological activities, including antitumor and antioxidant properties. Antioxidation test in GCG-1 in vitro showed that it has strong free radical scavenging activity. It suggests that Gomphus clavatus can be considered as a medicinal food with antioxidant activities.

Keywords: Mushrooms; Fungus; Antioxidant


Wild mushrooms have been part of the human diet for centuries because of their taste, texture, nutrient and medicinal values of fruiting body. The annual consumption of wild mushrooms exceeds 10kg per individual in some countries [1]. Successfully controlled condition in mushroom houses have made mushrooms as an economically important food. World production of mushrooms has increased dramatically from 6.1 million tons in 1997 to 12.2 million tons in 2002 [2]. Nutritionally, mushrooms are low in energy and fat but high protein, carbohydrate, and dietary fiber. Carbohydrate is composed of chitin, glycogen, mannitol, and trehalose. In addition, mushrooms contain a variety of minerals and trace elements such as potassium and copper and vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, and folates [3]. Apart from being as a food, some mushrooms have also been studied to have ‘antioxidant activities’. Recent studies showed that extracts prepared from Gomphus clavatus fruiting bodies have a high antioxidant activity, and a high concentration of phenolic and flavonoid compounds [4]. Fungal polysaccharide is a type of active organic compound that is found in medicinal fungi, fruiting bodies. Polysaccharides are often quite heterogeneous, containing slight modifications of the repeating unit. Recently, a novel polysaccharide from Gomphus clavatus Gray was isolated through Sephadex G-200 and DEAE-cellulose columns. The Gomphus clavatus Gray saccharide (GCG-1) showed antioxidant activities. Gomphus clavatus Gray may be an ideal source for antioxidant and anticancer agents [4-7]. The aim of the review is to collect data on fungal biology of Gomphus clavatus, belong to basidiomycetes, Agaricomycetes, Gomphales and to study the beneficial effects of G. clavatus Gray mushrooms with both edible and medicinal properties.

Taxonomy of the Gomphus clavatus, Belong to Gomphus Based on Morphology

The Gomphus clavatus, commonly known as pig’s ears, is an edible species of fungus in the genus Gomphus, the family Gomphaceae (Figure 1 and Table 1). The Gomphus, belong to Basidiomycota is characterized by fleshy basidiomata that can have funnel-shaped pilei with wrinkled hymenia. The reduced number of distinctive morphological features and the lack of molecular data (DNA sequences) to clarify the taxonomy of this group have contributed to its confused classification. Nevertheless, the significant contributions by many taxonomists have led to a better understanding of the overall placement of gomphoid fungi. Before Giachini [8] analyzed the molecular phylogeny of Gomphus sensu lato (Gomphaceae, Gomphales, Basidiomycota) and related genera in the Gomphales, species of Gomphales were assigned to three different genera: Cantharellus [9], Craterellus [10], and Neurophyllum [11]. Recently Giachini & Castellano [12]. Presented a new classification for Gomphus S. l. Giachini [8] and Giachini & Castellano [12]. emphasized that Gomphus sensu stricto is the only genus in the Gomphaceae with strictly violet, lavender-brown, or milky-coffee colored hymenia, distinguishing it from other representatives of Gomphus s. l. (Gloeocantharellus, Phaeoclavulina, Turbinellus) characterized by orange, brown or greenish olive hymenia [12]. Furthermore, all Gomphus species produce clamp connections and verrucose spores. The unique combination of these morphological characteristics separates Gomphus from other genera within the Gomphales [12].