Advances in research on Cordyceps militaris degeneration

  • Haiwei LouEmail author
  • Junfang Lin
  • Liqiong Guo
  • Xinwei Wang
  • Shuangqi Tian
  • Chenxi Liu
  • Yu Zhao
  • Renyong ZhaoEmail author


As a highly valued fungus, Cordyceps militaris has been widely used all over the world. Although the wild resources of C. militaris are limited, the fruiting bodies of C. militaris have been successfully cultivated on a large-scale. However, the high-frequency degeneration of C. militaris during subculture and preservation seriously limits the development of the C. militaris industry. How to solve the degeneration of C. militaris has become an unsolved bottleneck problem throughout the whole Cordyceps industry. The aim of this review is to illustrate the phenotypic changes after the degeneration of C. militaris, focusing on the causes (including environmental factors and genetic variation) of C. militaris degeneration. Moreover, genetic variation is the root cause of the degeneration of C. militaris strains. Measures to prevent the degeneration of C. militaris are also discussed in this review. This paper will increase understanding of the degeneration mechanism of C. militaris, provide a reference for solving the degeneration problem of C. militaris, and lay a foundation for promoting the sustainable development of C. militaris.


Filamentous fungi Degeneration mechanism Fruiting body Genetic variation Subculture Cordyceps militaris 



This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China-Henan Joint Fund (grant number U1604234) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 31572178).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Food Science and TechnologyHenan University of TechnologyZhengzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Bioengineering, College of Food ScienceSouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouChina

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