Successfully breed Caterpillar fungus- a rare medicine

Posted at: MONday - 15/09/2014 08:58 - post name: Nguyễn Thị Thùy


Biotechnology Transfer Centre under Vietnam Technical Scientific Application JSC- Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE) successfully subdivided and bred a kind of fungus named “caterpillar fungus”.

 This is a rare medicine so many Vietnamese patients often have to buy it abroad with very high prices. People said that it is a special organism because it is an insect in the winter but turns into grass in the summer. It is reason why it named “dong chong cia cao” (winter insect, summer grass). It can cure for many diseases, even cancer.

However, through research, scientists identifies: caterpillar fungus is a common name for a group of fungus parasitic on an endemic insect’s larval in Tibet (China). They are mainly Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris. Further research points out that Cordyceps militaris includes many bioactive compounds such as Cordycepin, Adenosine, Mannitol, Cordypolysaccarid, Superoxide, Dismutise, etc.

Some other researches also suggest that Cordyceps militaris are able to regulate cardiovascular, cure for kidney disease by reducing immunoglobin A. It also can support the treatment of viral, diabetes and sexual dysfunction; prevent and inhibit the development of cancer. Therefore, many countries including China, Korea, Japan, and Thailand have recently researched, bred and developed this kind of fungus to prepare medicine and buy with very high prices.

Acknowledgement of its great value and application potentialities, the Vietnam Technical Scientific Application JSC invested and asked a group of young people leaded by M.A Vu Xuan Tao to research, and breed caterpillar fungus experimentally in Vietnam so that Vietnamese people have chances to use it with the lowest prices.

After many years of collection and research on products in their own country and foreign countries, the group of authors has successfully selected and bred some fungus genera with high quality. However, their prices have not be accepted by the market because breeding progress is not stable; and substrata (worms’ larval mainly) for rare fungus breeding is still imported.

Authors have continued to research to improve technological process and find some substances that are available in water and can replace foreign products to use as fungus’ substrata. This way can bring good results. Being bred in new substrata and in Vietnam’s conditions, the genus  Cordyceps militaris not only develops well but also gives sporocarps with many rare active elements that is as good as type-I- products of foreign countries.

Now, The Centre for Research and Biological Technology Transfer keeps technological process of Cordyceps militaris breeding under the control to create products with high quality. The important thing is fungus’ price is only one fifth compared to that of foreign products. This technology has been transferred to some institutions and individuals, contributing to people’s livelihoods.

Translated by Nga Nguyen

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