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At KAICO, we have successfully cultivated Cordyceps militaris, a type of fungus discovered in the Kyushu University Miyazaki Experimental Forest, using live silkworms. We are advancing research and development to use it as a raw material for supplements and cosmetics.

Cordyceps militaris discovered at Kyushu University

Kyushu University owns an experimental forest in Shiiba Village, Miyazaki Prefecture, spanning 2,916 hectares. Since 1939, this area has been exclusively used for environmental research and studies, and access by the general public is restricted, allowing many plants and animals to thrive and be protected. 

In this experimental forest, Professor Kusakabe of Kyushu University discovered Cordyceps militaris, a type of caterpillar fungus. He also succeeded in artificially cultivating this rare mushroom, Cordyceps militaris, using silkworms as the host through inoculation. Cordyceps militaris is a unique mushroom that grows from the pupae of butterflies and moths and is one of the well-known high-grade Chinese herbal medicines.

Highly prized Chinese medicine “Cordyceps militaris”

Cordyceps militaris, a relative of the highly prized traditional Chinese medicinal fungus Cordyceps sinensis, is known to contain beneficial compounds such as cordycepin, superoxide dismutase (SOD), β-glucan, ergosterol, and mannitol. In particular, ‘cordycepin’ possesses functions such as immune activation, anti-obesity, and anti-tumor effects. Between 2011 and 2021, over 1,200 research papers on Cordyceps militaris were published, with more than 500 of them focusing on cordycepin.

Original cultivating method using “living silkworms”

At KAICO, we have developed a method to cultivate Cordyceps militaris in conditions close to nature, in collaboration with Professor Kusakabe. After much trial and error, we have developed an original cultivation method using “living silkworms”, enabling us to stably produce high-quality and rare Cordyceps militaris.