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Characterization of mycelial growth, biomass production, and fruiting bioassays in Cordyceps mexicana

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Distributed in Mexico, Cordyceps mexicana is a phylogenetic sister species of the Cordyceps militaris group. The present study evaluated biomass production of this species in in vitro cultures and fruiting bioassays to determine the capacity and time for primordia development of different strains of the species in different substrates. The mycelial growth of the strains of C. mexicana showed cottony, convex, circular, or irregular growth, with a fimbriated and lobulate-fimbriated margin and whitish and light yellow surface coloration in PDA (potato dextrose agar) medium. Biomass production in PD (Potato Dextrose) medium differed among strains (P<0.05), with CIRB-Cm_c14, CIRB-Cm_c16, CIRB-Cm_c24, and CIRB-Cm_c25 presenting the highest dry weight values (0.42, 0.48, 0.493 and 0.487 g/100 ml, respectively). In solid culture media, the highest biomass production was presented in Sabouraud dextrose agar with yeast (medium rich), intermediate production in PDA (rich medium) and malt extract agar (general medium), and lowest production in maize agar and wheat agar. In fruiting bioassays conducted at 500–1000 lux and 90% humidity on substrates of brown rice, rice with added mealworm (Tenebrio molitor; Coleoptera) larvae, and rice with added “chinicuil” (Comadia redtenbacheri: Lepidoptera) larvae, C. mexicana demonstrated the ability to completely invade the substrates; however, the time taken for completely invade the substrates and primordia development differed, being shorter in brown rice and brown rice with added “chinicuils”. This study is the first to describe mycelial growth in Cordyceps mexicana in vitro and solid cultures, as well as the production of primordia in the species.

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Data availability

The strains are in the Mycology Laboratory of the Centro de Investigación en Recursos Bióticos, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México. Molecular markers are in GenBank and the codes are in Table 2.


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We thank Consejo Mexiquense de Ciencia y Tecnología (COMECYT) for the financial support granted to the first author, López-Rodríguez, to carry out research at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEMéx).


This research was funded by the project UAEM 4985/2020CIB “Diversity, isolation and strains propagation of edible and medicinal mushrooms of the State of Mexico”. Author López-Rodríguez has received research support from CONACYT (Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología) and has received research support to writing, review and editing from COMECYT (CAT2022-0034) (Consejo Mexiquense de Ciencia y Tecnología).

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“All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by [Lorena López-Rodríguez], [Cristina Burrola-Aguilar], [Roberto Garibay-Orijel] and [María G. Gonzalez-Pedroza] The first draft of the manuscript was written by [Lorena López-Rodríguez] and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.”

Conceptualization: [Lorena López-Rodríguez], [Roberto Garibay Orijel]; Methodology: [Lorena López-Rodríguez], [María Elena Estrada-Zúñiga]; Formal analysis and investigation: [Lorena López-Rodríguez], [Cristina Burrola-Aguilar], [María G. González-Pedroza] ; Writing - original draft preparation: [Lorena López-Rodríguez], Writing - review and editing: [Lorena López-Rodríguez], [Roberto Garibay Orijel], [María Elena Estrada-Zúñiga], [Cristina Burrola-Aguilar], [María G. González-Pedroza]; Funding acquisition: [Cristina Burrola-Aguilar], [Lorena López-Rodríguez]; Resources: [Cristina Burrola-Aguilar], [Roberto Garibay-Orijel]; Supervision: [Cristina Burrola-Aguilar], [Roberto Garibay-Orijel].

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Correspondence to Cristina Burrola-Aguilar.

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Section Editor: Martin Rühl

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López-Rodríguez, L., Burrola-Aguilar, C., Estrada-Zúñiga, M.E. et al. Characterization of mycelial growth, biomass production, and fruiting bioassays in Cordyceps mexicana. Mycol Progress 22, 68 (2023).

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