This study aimed to verify the whitening effect of Cordyceps militaris, which is distributed in several countries worldwide, including Korea, Japan, and China, and has various medical effects. To screen the efficacy of C. militaris, the inhibitory activity of tyrosinase, which was 66% at a concentration of 1 mg/mL, was measured. Thereafter, the survival rate of melanoma cells was measured, and cell experiments were conducted at a concentration of 90% or more in which C. militaris was not toxic to cells. After measuring the inhibitory effect of TRP-1, TRP-2, tyrosinase protein, and mRNA expression, which are factors influencing melanin synthesis, C. militaris was found to decrease in all factors, with an expression level that was significantly lower compared to quercetin. This confirmed that C. militaris stimulated with LED has excellent whitening activity and can be used as a functional whitening cosmetics material.
To investigate the anti-inflammatory activity of submerged culture using Cordyceps militaris mycelium, culture-including mycelia was extracted and lyophilized into postbiotics (hot-water extract; CM-HW). HW was fractionated into crude polysaccharide (CM-CP) by ethanol precipitation, and CM-CP was further dialyzed into CM-DCP by dialysis with running water using 12~14 kDa dialysis tube. When the cytotoxicity of subfractions against cells was assessed, no subfraction had a cytotoxic impact that was substantially different from the control groups. In an inflammatory model using LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells, CM-DCP significantly decreased IL-6 and MCP-1 production levels compared to the LPS-control group. CM-DCP also inhibited IL-6 and IL-8 secretion in HaCaT keratinocytes stimulated with TNF-α and IFN-γ. In the meanwhile, the neutral sugar content and mannose ratio of anti-inflammatory CM-DCP were higher than the other fractions, and CM-DCP contained β-1,3/1,6-glucan of 216.1 mg/g. High pressure size exclusion chromatography revealed that CM-DCP contained molecules with a molecular weight range of 5.6 to 144.0 kDa. In conclusion, postbiotics of C. militaris mycelium significantly promoted anti-inflammatory activity, suggesting that neutral polysaccharides including Glc and Man contribute to the anti-inflammation in RAW 264.7 or HaCaT cells.
In this study, scones were prepared using Cordyceps powder, described as ‘immortal life’. Cordyceps powder was prepared in 0%, 2%, 4%, 6%, and 8% ratios, and salinity, color, texture, and antioxidant properties were analyzed. The salinity of Cordyceps scones did not show a difference according to the amount of Cordyceps powder added (p=0.364), and the a-, b-values increased significantly (p<0.001). In the case of texture, there was no significant difference in the amount of Cordyceps added. Flavonoids increased significantly as the amount of Cordyceps powder increased (p<0.001). ABTS-radical scavenging capacity increased significantly as the amount of Cordyceps powder increased (p<0.001). Through this study, the antioxidant properties of Cordyceps scones were confirmed.
Owing to its excellent nutritional value, eggs are among the most important components of the human diet. Gender and environmental factors, such as feed composition, may alter the nutritional profile and quality of eggs. Feed additives have recently been used to enhance the health and productivity of hens, which has resulted in the production of higher-quality eggs. The fungus Cordyceps militaris, a well-established source of traditional medicines, contains potential bioactive metabolites, which prompted us to examine the effects of C. militaris-supplemented diets on the quality of hens’ eggs. The hens of two species (Gallus gallus domesticus and Araucana) were fed with one of three different diets: a control diet and diets supplemented with 2% or 5% of C. militaris. Egg quality was determined by measuring the Haugh Unit, yolk color, and shell thickness. In addition, egg and shell densities together with the ratio of yolk to albumen were calculated. Eggshell thickness and yolk color were both enhanced by the addition of C. militaris, whereas Haugh Unit values were somewhat reduced. Egg size, eggshell weight, and yolk and albumen production were all enhanced by C. militaris supplementation. Notably, in hens fed the 2% C. militaris-supplemented diet, enhancement was more evident in the yolk than in the albumen. The overall quality of the egg yolk was enhanced when 2% C. militaris was added to the hens' diet, which led to increases in both yolk color and quantity. Eggshell thickness and weight were also higher among eggs laid by hens fed the supplemented diets. Although these effects differed depending on the chicken species, we established that, in general, C. militaris contributes to improving egg quality.
Cordyceps militaris mycelium extracts containing high amounts of cordycepin were evaluated in vitro for their antiinflammatory and tumor cell growth-inhibitory activities. All extracts dose dependently inhibited the increased production of inflammatory mediators including reactive oxygen species (ROS), nitric oxide (NO), and β-hexosaminidase in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated inflammatory cells. All extracts were evaluated for anti-proliferative activity against normal RBL-2H3 cells and diverse types of cancer cell lines, including HCT, MC5-7, U-87MG, AGS, and A549 cells. The extract showed the strongest growth inhibition (IC50 = 28.13 μg/mL) relative to vehicle-treated control cells against fibrosarcoma (MC5-7). We have demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity of C. militaris via inhibition of NO, ROS production, and β-hexosaminidase release in activated cells. C. militaris mycelium extract was also evaluated mechanistically and found to exert six types of anti-cancer activity, confirming its pharmacological potential. Our study suggests C. militaris use as a potential source of anti-inflammatory and anticancer agents. C. militaris may also be considered a functional food.
Cordyceps militaris, a well-known traditional Chinese medicine, has multiple health-promoting effects. It is used as a herbal remedy and health food in Asian countries. Cultured mycelia are often used as a substitute for natural C. militaris. In the present study, the mycelia and fruiting bodies of artificially cultured C. militaris were analyzed using a metabolomics approach. The protein and crude fat contents of the mycelia were substantially higher than those of the fruiting bodies. The top three abundant amino acids in the mycelia were proline (3.9 g/100 g), aspartic acid (2.9 g/100 g), and glutamic acid (2.7 g/100 g). The carbohydrate content was similar in the fruiting bodies and mycelia. Analysis revealed that both the fruiting bodies and mycelia are rich in phenolic compounds and exhibit antioxidant activity. Further, six metabolites were significantly different between the mycelia and fruiting bodies. The levels of Ca, glucose, Mg, and Se were higher in the mycelia than in the fruiting bodies. In contrast, mannitol and Zn were more abundant in the fruiting bodies. The current study provides a comprehensive metabolic profile of the mycelia and fruiting bodies of artificially cultured C. militaris. Such an exercise is potentially important for understanding the metabolism of C. militaris and facilitating the use of cultured mycelia as a supplement to C. militaris fruiting bodies in traditional Chinese medicine.
The ascomycete fungus Cordyceps militaris infects lepidopteran insect pupae, forming characteristic fruiting bodies called “Dong Chung Ha Cho” in Korean. They have been used as medicines owing to their anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and immune-enhancing effects. This fungus can be grown on the geminated soybeans Rhynchosia nulubilis, which also contains several novel isoflavones. We performed a comparative transcriptome analysis to determine core gene sets or pathways contributing to biologically active products such as isoflavone. Initially, we sequenced 2-week-old fungal cultures on different soybean agar media, where different amounts of water agar were implemented to show different surface topology. We selected 830 upregulated and 188 downregulated genes by comparing linear models of the samples (two-fold change threshold). Gene ontology analysis identified that the “IMP biosynthesis” term was significantly found in the upregulated gene sets. The pathway is involved in the synthesis of cordycepin, the reference chemical for C. militaris. This finding in the transcriptome data is consistent with the previous observation: increased cordycepin concentrations in the C. militaris cultured on germinated soybean.
In this study, we investigated the effect of solid culture medium on the production of cordycepin in Cordyceps militaris. The regression equation was expressed as follows: Y1= 755.3-58.6625X1+4.79432E-14X2-46.6625X3-5.66269E-14X1X2- 0.025X1X3+1.62475E-14X2X3-160.6625X1 2+0.0125X2 2-206.9625X3 2, where, Y represents the value of cordycepin content (μg/g), X1 corresponds to the weight of M. alternatus in solid culture medium (g/bottle), X2 to the water content of the solid culture medium (%), and X3 to the culture period (day). The solid culture medium was optimized using the response surface methodology, and the optimal medium composition was as follows: the weight of M. alternatus in solid culture medium and water content were 16.2% and 100.7% (20.14 mL water/20 g solid culture medium), respectively, with a culture period of 39 days. Under these conditions, the cordycepin content of the fruiting bodies reached 150.0 μg/g (actual value). The supplementation of M. alternatus in solid culture for improved cordycepin content of C. militaris seems to be a promising alternative to wild and solid cultivation.
Light is an important factor for cordycepin production in Cordyceps militaris. We investigated the effects of different light-emitting diode (LED) conditions including various LED wavelengths and their combinations on cordycepin production in Cordyceps militaris cultivated in submerged culture. The results of our study showed that the combinations of LED wavelengths were more beneficial than single LED sources for cordycepin production. Among the three tested wavelength combinations, the greatest effects for cordycepin production were observed for the red:blue light combination at the wavelength ratio of 5:5 or 3:7. The optimal culture conditions were 19.2278 h/day of illumination time; 9.19497 g/50 mL of glucose content in the media; and 53.112 h of cultivation time. Our model predicted a maximum yield of 2860.01 μg/mL cordycepin. Finally, to verify the calculated maximum, we performed experiments in the culture media representing the obtained optimum combination and the cordycepin yield of 2412.5 μg/mL.
본 연구는 동충하초 추출물을 PC12 및 BV2 세포에서 인지능력 개선에 대한 효능을 평가하고자 하였다. 동충하초 추출물을 증류수로 추출하여 PC12 및 BV2 세포로 MTT 분석을 통해 세포 생존율을 확인하고 L-glutamate로 유도한 PC12 세포를 통해 세포 보호 효능과 아세틸콜린 함량 및 아세틸콜린에스테아제 활성을 평가하였다. 또한, LPS로 유도한 BV2 세포를 통해 nitric oxide (NO) 및 prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) 생성량 등의 항염증 효능을 측정하고 western blot 분석을 통해 NK-ĸB, p38, JNK, caspase-3 등의 단백질 발현량을 확인하였다. 동충하초 추출물은 200 ㎍/㎖ 농도를 제외하고 1, 10, 100 (㎍/㎖) 농도에서 세포 독성이 나타나지 않았다. L-glutamate로 유도한 PC12 세포에서 유의성있게 세포 보호 효능과 아세틸콜린 함량의 증가, 아세틸콜린에스테아제 활성 감소가 나타났다. 또한, 동충하초 추출물은 NO 및 PGE2 생성량과 NK-ĸB, p38, JNK, caspase-3 등의 단백질 발현을 억제하였다. 이와 같은 결과는 동충하초 추출물이 인지능력에 대한 예방 및 개선 효능이 있음을 나타낸다. 따라서 동충하초 추출물은 인지능력 개선을 위한 새로운 천연 소재로 활용될 수 있다.
발아대두 동충하초의 유산균 발효를 위하여 발아대두와 동충하초가 함유된 배지에서 생육이 우수한 유산균주를 김치로부터 분리하여 동정한 결과 Lactobacillus plantarum KCB001로 명명하였다. 선정된 유산균을 이용하여 발아대두 동충하초의 고상발효조건을 최적화한 결과, 동충하초와 발아대두의 혼합비는 4:1, 가수량은 40%(v/v), 종배양액의 첨가량은 20%(v/w), 최적 발효온도와 시간은 각각 37oC와 72시간으로 확인되었다. 유산균발효에 의해 총 폴리페놀함 량과 DPPH 소거능이 증가하였으며, 특히 동충하초의 지표 물질인 cordycepin 함량은 발효에 의해 24% 증가함으로써 발효에 의해 발아대두 동충하초의 기능성이 증가함을 확인하였다.