Most edible mushrooms are quite small. But in West Africa and Zambia, there is a particularly giant fungus: Termitomyces titanicus. In Zambia, where mushroom picking is a part of life, titanicus is particularly popular. Termitomyces is the largest edible mushroom in the world, with a cap capable of measuring just over 90 centimeters in diameter.
The name Termitomyces refers to the way it grows inside a termite mound. Termitomyces fungi have a symbiotic relationship with termites. The fungus thrives on termite feces and breaks down plant material as food for them. Termites also bite into decaying fungal tissue. Most grow in winter during the rains, which is the best season for mushrooms. The Salty Smoked Titanicus is considered particularly delicious, with a meaty texture. It is found throughout Zambia, but grows particularly well among the diverse flora of the country’s miombo forests. (The Miombo is a type of wooded savanna).
Like other fungus-producing insects, termite-associated fungi receive a constant supply of plant matter, in a location with optimum temperature and moisture content for their growth. In turn, the termites receive an easily digestible and reliable food source. The evolution of this symbiosis led to a period of adaptive radiation in this subfamily.
The impressive nutritional profile of termitomyces titanicus mushrooms highlights the healing power of nature:
In general, mushrooms contain high amounts of vitamin D, a powerful mood booster effective in fighting depression and relieving stress. Additionally, vitamin D is widely known to successfully control blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.
Termitomyces titanicus mushrooms contain a wide range of antioxidants including phenols, flavonoids and beta-carotene.
These antioxidants reduce damage to cells in the body, improving immunity and the body’s ability to fight disease. hypertension, arthritis, diabetes and almost any disease.
The antioxidants in termitomyces titanicus mushrooms also have beneficial qualities. anti-aging. Also present are compounds known as tocopherols which are endowed with enormous power to eliminate toxins from the system, greatly reducing the risk of disease.
The combination of antioxidants in termitomyces titanicus mushrooms has extremely tremendous anti-cancer properties that not only shrink existing cancer cells but also prevent the formation of new cancer cells. The antioxidants in termitomyces and other types of mushrooms are able destroy prostate and breast cancer cells. Like other fungi, termitomyces are an excellent source of selenium, another powerful nutrient that research has shown to be extremely effective in fighting Prostate cancer.
In addition to all these nutrients, termitomyces and other fungi are rich in beta-glucans, compounds that have an extremely positive influence on building a strong immune system.
The nutritional composition of termitomyces titanicus supports some traditional African beliefs that the consumption of termitomyces microcarpus mushrooms, a variety similar to termitomyces titanicus, can restore health.