Mycobiology.  2017 Mar;45(1):31-38. 10.5941/MYCO.2017.45.1.31.

Development of High Cordycepin-Producing Cordyceps militaris Strains

  • 1Department of Microbiology, Pusan National University, Busan 46241, Korea.
  • 2CMG Biofarm, Busan 46958, Korea.
  • 3Department of Asian Food and Culinary Arts, Youngsan University, Busan 48015, Korea.


Cordyceps militaris, known as Dong-Chong-Xia-Cao, produces the most cordycepin among Cordyceps species and can be cultured artificially. For these reasons, C. militaris is widely used as herb or functional food in the East Asia. In this study, we developed a new strain of C. militaris that produces higher cordycepin content than parent strains through mating-based sexual reproduction. Twenty parent strains were collected and identified as C. militaris based on internal trasncrived spacer and rDNA sequences. Seven single spores of MAT 1-1 idiomorph and five single spores of MAT 1-2 idiomorph were isolated from 12 parent strains. When 35 combinations were mated on the brown rice medium with the isolated single spores, eight combinations formed a stroma with a normal perithecia and confirmed mated strains. High pressure liquid chromatography analysis showed that mated strain KSP8 produced the most cordycepin in all the media among all the tested strains. This result showed due to genetic recombination occurring during the sexual reproduction of C. militaris. The development of C. militaris strain with increased cordycepin content by this approach can help not only to generate new C. militaris strains, but also to contribute to the health food or medicine industry.


Cordycepin; Cordyceps militaris; Dong-Chong-Xia-Cao; MAT gene; Mating

MeSH Terms

Chromatography, Liquid
DNA, Ribosomal
Far East
Functional Food
Recombination, Genetic
DNA, Ribosomal
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