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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
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ISSN Imprimer: 1521-9437
ISSN En ligne: 1940-4344

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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v1.i3.80
pages 251-261

Medicinal Effects and Utilization of Cordyceps (Fr.) Link (Ascomycetes) and Isaria Fr. (Mitosporic Fungi) Chinese Caterpillar Fungi, "Tochukaso" (Review)

Takashi Mizuno
Department of Applied Biological Chemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, Shizuoka University, 4-13-9 Seinan-Cho, Fujieda-Shi 426-0063, Japan


Cordiceps (Fr.) Link species (Tochukaso in Japanese, Chinese caterpillar fungi) are a parasite on cicada larvae that forms its scleotium in the insect larvae. At present, the fruiting bodies of Cordyceps species are not cultivated or cultured. However, cultivation of mycelia of this species that is, C. sinensis (Berk.) Sacc, C. sobolefera (Hill.) Berk, et Br., C. militaris (L.: Fr.) Link, and Isaria japonica Lloyd, etc., becomes relatively easy. Antitumor polysaccharides, galactomannan CI-P and CI-A, were isolated from C. cicadae Shing (Chinese Semitake) parasitic fungus on the larva of Cicada flammata Dist. On the other hand, a remarkable antitumor active β-(l→3)-D-glucan CO-1 and galactosaminoglycan CO-N were isolated from C. ophioglossoides (Ehrh.) Fr. Hanayasuritake. Antitumor polysaccharides such as galactomannan and β-(l→3)-D-glucan were isolated from the insect part and fruit body of C. cicadae. These polysaccharides were shown to have hypoglycemic activity. D-Mannitol, which is a sugar alcohol contained in many plants including fungi and marine algae, was isolated from Cordyceps species. It is said that sugar alcohol and trehalose help to moisten cells and exert cosmetic effects. The cultured hypha extract of Cordyceps species was orally administered and found to produce antifatigue and motor function improving effects.

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