David M. Ojcius: 0000-0003-1461-4495
The caterpillar fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis (previously called Cordyceps sinensis) has been used for centuries in Asia as a tonic to improve health and longevity. Recent studies show that O. sinensis produces a wide range of biological effects on cells, laboratory animals and humans, including anti-fatigue, anti-infection, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-tumor activities. In view of the rarity of O. sinensis fruiting bodies in nature, cultivation of its anamorph mycelium represents a useful alternative for large-scale production. However, O. sinensis fruiting bodies harvested in nature harbor several fungal contaminants, a phenomenon that led to the isolation and characterization of a large number of incorrect mycelium strains. We report here the isolation of a mycelium from a fruiting body of O. sinensis and we identify the isolate as O. sinensis’ anamorph (also called Hirsutella sinensis) based on multi-locus sequence typing of several fungal genes (ITS, nrSSU, nrLSU, RPB1, RPB2, MCM7, β-tubulin, TEF-1α, and ATP6). The main characteristics of the isolated mycelium, including its optimal growth at low temperature (16°C) and its biochemical composition, are similar to that of O. sinensis fruiting bodies, indicating that the mycelium strain characterized here may be used as a substitute for the rare and expensive O. sinensis fruiting bodies found in nature.
Ojcius, D. M.,
Young, J. D.
Isolation, Culture and Characterization of Hirsutella sinensis Mycelium from Caterpillar Fungus Fruiting Body.
PLoS One, 12(1), 1–21.