Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 187, Issue 2, pp 553–561 | Cite as

Selenium Biofortification and Antioxidant Activity in Cordyceps militaris Supplied with Selenate, Selenite, or Selenomethionine

  • Ting Hu
  • Yue Liang
  • Guishen Zhao
  • Wenliang Wu
  • Huafen Li
  • Yanbin GuoEmail author


Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element with multiple functions that may help mitigate adverse health conditions. Cordyceps militaris is an edible mushroom with medicinal properties. The experiment was conducted under artificial cultivation, with five Se concentrations (0, 5, 10, 20, and 40 μg g−1) and three forms of Se (selenate, selenite, and selenomethionine). C. militaris can absorb inorganic from the substrate and convert it to organic Se compounds (selenocystine, selenomethionine, and an unknown species) in fruiting bodies. Compared with the control treatment, Se applications (40 μg g−1 selenate and selenite) significantly increased the Se concentration in fruiting bodies by 130.9 and 128.1 μg g−1, respectively. The biofortification with selenate and selenite did not affect fruiting body production, in some case, but did enhance the biological efficiency. Moreover, the abundance of cordycepin and adenosine increased, while the amino acid contents remained relatively stable. Meanwhile, Se-biofortified C. militaris showed effective antioxidant activities. These results suggest that Se-biofortified C. militaris fruiting bodies may enhance human and animal health when it was included as part of a healthy diet or used as Se supplements.


Antioxidant Biofortification Cordyceps militaris Cordycepin Selenium 



This work was supported by the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest (201303106), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31470531), the Program for Liaoning Excellent Talents in University (LR2015058), and the Scientific Research Foundation for the Introduced Talents of Shenyang Agricultural University (20153040).

Supplementary material

12011_2018_1386_Fig6_ESM.png (1.2 mb)
Figure S1

Biomass production in fruiting bodies treated with different concentrations of selenate [Se (VI)], selenite [Se (IV)], or selenomethionine (SeMet). Control treatments lacked Se in the medium. Data are mean ± SD (n = 3). Different letters (a, b, c…) indicate significant differences among Se treatments (p < 0.05). (GIF 39 kb)

12011_2018_1386_MOESM1_ESM.tif (17.7 mb)
High resolution image (TIF 18081 kb)
12011_2018_1386_MOESM2_ESM.docx (43 kb)
Table S1 (DOCX 42 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Resources and Environmental SciencesChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Beijing Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Organic FarmingChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Plant ProtectionShenyang Agricultural UniversityShenyangChina

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