TVU successfully produced cordyceps mushrooms

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Tra Vinh University has completed the process of producing cordyceps mushrooms (also known as Ophiocordyceps Sinensis) in an artificial environment and is conducting mass production.

MSc. Nguyen Ngoc Trai introduced Ophiocordyceps Sinensis which was produced on  red-brown rice substrate

At the end of 2014, Tra Vinh University started researching caterpillar fungus and successfully studied the cultivation process on red-brown rice substrate and the host silkworm pupae. However, at that time the research group had to focus and research on embryonic transplanted wax coconut, so the commercialization of this product was temporarily put off. 

MSc. Nguyen Ngoc Trai, Deputy Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Environment, Faculty of Agriculture and Fisheries, Tra Vinh University, said: “Many businesses have commercialized products containing caterpillar fungus on market with different prices. The research group at Tra Vinh University has also focused on producing caterpillar fungus to supply the market. Our products are mainly cultivated on an organic substrate, without using stimulants to ensure public health ”. According to MSc. Nguyen Ngoc Trai, currently, caterpillar fungus are being cultivated by two main methods, including on substrate and silkworm pupae. For cultivating on the substrate, most companies use red rice. On silkworm pupae cultivation, it is better to use alive silkworm pupae. The products from both methods have the same medicinal substances. However, the one cultivating on silkworm pupae is fancy and more natural.

Many types of research showed that Cordycepin presented in caterpillar fungus is an anti-cancer substance.

Caterpillar fungus at Tra Vinh University is cultivated on two main substrate sources including on synthetic substrate source which is red rice and silkworm pupae. Red-brown rice substrate supplying nutrition includes potato extract, coconut water, some minerals, vitamins, etc.

The substrate after being fully supplemented with ingredients was autoclaved and allowed to cool overnight. Seeds were prepared for about 5 days on a shaker. Then poured 10ml of seed into the substrate box, incubated to let the fungus silk grow. When the fungus grew on the surface of the environment, about 5-7 days, the new fungus box was brought to the cultivation room. The room was equipped with a light and mist humidifier. Light intensity was set at about 1,000 – 1,500 lux. The humidity in the room was always between 80-85%. After 45 days, the products could be harvested. 

“The fungus which is considered to meet the standard and to be good has uniform filaments, growing all over the substrate. At Tra Vinh University, the percentage of good products cultivated on the substrate of red-brown rice is about 70% while cultivating on silkworm pupae is over 60% of the success rate.”, said MSc. Nguyen Ngoc Trai.

Production of caterpillar fungus at Tra Vinh University 

About the use of this product, MSc. Nguyen Ngoc Trai added: “We should use this fungus as medicinal mushrooms, not as edible mushrooms. Edible mushrooms can be eaten a lot, but medicinal mushrooms should only be used in recommended doses. If we overdose, it will become toxic. To use caterpillar fungus, the users should be over 6 years old. This fungus is also very helpful for the elderly who are insomnia and sick. The dosage used per day is from 5-10g of fresh caterpillar fungus. It can soak caterpillar fungus in boiled water for drinking, cooking porridge, or soaking in wine, etc. Some companies also produce caterpillar fungus in pellets.”

MN