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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

Impact factor: 1.357

ISSN Print: 1521-9437
ISSN Online: 1940-4344

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v16.i2.30
pages 125-135

Process Optimization for Extraction of Carotenoids from Medicinal Caterpillar Fungus, Cordyceps militaris (Ascomycetes)

Tao Yang
State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100049, China
Junde Sun
College of Land and Environment, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang, 110866, China
Tiantian Lian
College of Land and Environment, Shenyang Agricultural University, Shenyang, 110866, China; State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China
Wenzhao Wang
State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China
Caihong Dong
State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

ABSTRACT

Natural carotenoids have attracted great attention for their important beneficial effects on human health and food coloring function. Cordyceps militaris, a well-known edible and medicinal fungus, is a potential source of natural carotenoids. The present study aimed to optimize the process parameters for carotenoid extraction from this mushroom. The effects of different methods of breaking the fungal cell wall and organic solvents were studied by the one-factor-at-a-time method. Subsequently, the process parameters including the duration of the extraction time, the number of extractions, and the solvent to solid ratio were optimized by using the Box-Behnken design. The optimal extraction conditions included using an acid-heating method to break the cell wall and later extracting three times, each for a 1 h duration, with a 4:1 mixture of acetone: petroleum ether and a solvent: solid ratio of 24:1. The carotenoid content varied from 2122.50 to 3847.50 µg/g dry weights in different commercially obtained fruit bodies of C. militaris. The results demonstrated that the C. militaris contained more carotenoid content in its fruit bodies than other known mushrooms. Stability monitoring by HPLC demonstrated that the carotenoids could be stored at 4°C for 40 d. It is suggested that the carotenoid content should be considered as the quality standard of commercial products of this valued mushroom. These findings will facilitate the exploration of carotenoids from C. militaris.