Application of 3-D surface reconstruction by mid- and near-infrared microscopic imaging for anatomical studies on Hericium coralloides basidiomata
Tens of thousands of known mushrooms (incl. mycelia) represent, besides their nutritional and economic value, a huge reservoir of biologically active substances. A growing list of publications reports beneficial or therapeutic health effects (e.g., immunomodulatory, lipid-lowering, and antitumor properties) of so called “medicinal mushrooms”. Their potential pharmacological properties, however, still have not been sufficiently investigated. Therefore, any novel approach that improves our knowledge on the medicinal relevance, as well as quality control in the cultivation of medicinal mushrooms, should be welcome. In the present study, 3-D surface mid-infrared (MIR) and near-infrared (NIR) microscopic imaging as well as data analysis methods were combined to study 3-D molecular patterns of the edible and potentially medicinal basidiomycete Hericium coralloides. For 3-D surface measurements, spectral images from different planes within the surface layer of the mushroom were acquired. We tested several evaluation processes and optimized the methodology for use of complex infrared images to monitor 3-D molecular patterns in fruiting body (basidioma) structures. It is demonstrated that 3-D surface MIR and NIR microscopic imaging enables us to gain a picture of the semi-quantitative distribution/location of defined substance classes within the fruiting body. Such analyses might be useful for quality and safety control in the production and consumption of medicinal mushrooms.