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The medicinal fungus Cordyceps militaris: research and development

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Abstract

Ophiocordyceps sinensis (syn. Cordyceps sinensis) is a highly valued medicinal fungus. This entomopathogen has a limited distribution, has been overharvested in the wild, and its stromata have not been artificially cultivated. Another entomopathogenic fungus, Cordyceps militaris (commonly known as orange caterpillar fungus), has chemical capacities similar to those of O. sinensis, but unlike O. sinensis, its stromata can be easily cultivated. Consequently, C. militaris is being studied as an alternative to O. sinensis, and the large-scale production of stromata is receiving substantial attention. Significant research has been conducted on the genetic resources, nutritional and environmental requirements, mating behavior, and biochemical and pharmacological properties of C. militaris. The complete genome of C. militaris has recently been sequenced. This fungus has been the subject of many reviews, but few have focused on its biology. The current paper reviews the biological aspects of the fungus including host range, mating system, cytology and genetics, insect- and non-insect nutritional requirements, environmental influence on stroma development, and commercial development.

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Acknowledgments

The first author acknowledges the support of the Green Energy Mission/Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal and a grant from the Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Program (PJ008154 and PJ008321), Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea, during the preparation of the manuscript. The second author acknowledges the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30870450). The authors also sincerely thank the unknown reviewer for the helpful comments and suggestions.

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Shrestha, B., Zhang, W., Zhang, Y. et al. The medicinal fungus Cordyceps militaris: research and development. Mycol Progress 11, 599–614 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11557-012-0825-y

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