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The cordyceps The mushroom is best known for its horrific eating habits: the famous spores infect and kill insects, growing into full-fledged fruit bodies that sprout from the insects’ flesh. But cordyceps also has significant medicinal potential, with a bioactive compound cordycepin potentially being developed into potent new antiviral and cancer drugs. The mushrooms are rare in the wild and grow healthy so far cordyceps in the lab was a challenge hampering scientific research, but Professor Mi Kyeong Lee of Chungbuk National University and her team, including Dr. Ayman Turk, publish today in Frontiers in Microbiologyhave found a way to grow these elusive fungi in a controlled environment without losing their vigor.

“Cordycepin is one of the cytotoxic nucleoside analogs with complementary therapeutic activities in anti-proliferation and anti-metastasis in cancer cells,” said Dr. Lee, senior author of the study. “In addition, recent research results strongly urge preclinical and clinical studies of cordycepin for the comprehensive treatment of Covid-19.”

Finding the right food

usual, cordyceps is grown in the lab on grains such as brown rice. However, scientists noted that the levels of cordycepin were very low when it was collected from cordyceps grown on grains and suspected that the protein content of the grains was simply not high enough to cordyceps

. Given the high potential of cordycepin, Lee and her colleagues were eager to find a way to get healthy and strong cordyceps in the lab and synthesizes high levels of the bioactive compound for medical research. They considered edible insects as an alternative growing medium for cordycepsbut because different insects provide different nutrients, they also examined which commercially available edible insects gave their mushrooms the best meal.

Using crickets, silkworm pupae, mealworms, grasshoppers, white-spotted beetles, and Japanese rhinoceros beetles, they bred cordyceps for two months and then harvested to examine the results. There were striking differences between the different insect feeds: the cordyceps grew greatest on mealworms and silkworm pupae, and least well on beetle larvae and grasshoppers. Still, maximum growth did not necessarily correlate with the high levels of cordycepin Dr. Lee and her team searched. Though they didn’t get that big, cordyceps grown on Japanese rhinoceros beetles produced the highest levels of cordycepin, 34 times greater than the levels produced on silkworm pupae, the worst performing.

cordyceps grown on edible insects contained about 100 times more cordycepin compared to cordyceps on brown rice,” Lee said.

fatten up cordyceps upwards

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Research showed that the key to cordycepin production was the insect’s fat content, not the protein, especially the high levels of oleic acid, which may be required for cordycepin synthesis. Adding oleic acid to underperforming insect feeds improved cordycepin production in the cordyceps

subsequently increased by 50%.

“Our research convincingly demonstrates that a potential strategy for boosting cordycepin production in the growth of cordyceps would be to use insects with high oleic acid content,” Lee said.

With the therapeutic potential of cordyceps Complicated by the difficulty of producing cordycepin in the lab, these results offer hope for researchers looking for new drugs to fight devastating disease. Know what to feed these hungry cordyceps

means we can use their drug discovery power to find the drugs of the future.

“The cultivation method of cordyceps The production of cordycepin suggested in this study will make cordycepin production more effective and cheaper,” Lee said. “However, securing edible insects is not yet sufficient for industrial scale-up. It is also thought that more efficient production may be possible through the use of other insects, which needs to be demonstrated by further research.”


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More information:
Cordyceps mushroom with increased cordycepin content due to cultivation on edible insects, Frontiers in Microbiology
(2022). DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.1017576

Quote: Mushroom growing on insects may help develop new antiviral and cancer drugs (2022, October 19) retrieved October 19, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-mushroom-insects- anti-viral-medicine-cancer.html

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