BU develops cultivation and process technology for Cordyceps militaris

ITANAGAR, Jun 17: Scientists at Bodoland University (BU) of Kokrajhar, faculty of Science and Technology have recently developed a cultivation and process technology for growing of Cordyceps militaris, a rare and highly valued caterpillar mushroom under laboratory conditions at the BU Technology Incubation Centre on Mushrooms funded by the GoI, Department of Biotechnology.
Cordyceps militaris or Cordyceps sinensis is also known in Tibet as ‘Yartsa Gunbu’ which means ‘summer herb winter worm’ and found growing in alpine and sub-alpine zones in Mechukha and Monigong in Shi Yomi, Tuting in Upper Siang and Taksing in Upper Subansiri and Tawang bordering China between June and August.
A kilogram of the wild fungus fetches Rs. one lakh in India and it is in high demand in Tibetan, Chinese and traditional herbal folk medicines. In the recent past due to growing demand in the market, the Himalayan caterpillar fungus has become one of the world’s most valuable biological commodities, providing a crucial source of income for hundreds of thousands of collectors, but due to over-harvesting a sudden demise of caterpillar fungus in the Himalayan region of Arunachal Pradesh have been observed.
Dean of BU Kokrajhar Prof. Sandeep Das said that the natural Cordyceps is hard to find and if dried, costs at least Rs. 8 lakh per kg.
Prof. Sandeep Das informed that the BU has become the pioneer in the development of technology for growing Cordyceps and is ready to transfer process technology to promote growth of young entrepreneurs to boost self-employment and provide sustainable production of ‘caterpillar mushroom’.
‘Cordyceps militarisis also called ‘super mushroom’ for its host of medicinal properties can potentially boost immune system. Cordyceps capsule products have now been prepared using freeze-drying orlyophilization methods to help boost people’s immunity during the covid-19 pandemic. BU has also distributed Cordyceps capsules to civilians and frontline workers of covid-19 in Kokrajhar town free of cost,’ said Prof. Sandeep.
BU led by Prof. Sandeep had earlier also imparted training on organic oyster mushroom cultivation in a low-cost scientific mushroom house developed at Kalaktang under the guidance of experts from the BU and Tezpur University (TU), Assam.
Tezpur University assistant professor Dr. ND Namsa informed that the cultivation of oyster mushroom using organic methods is being continued at Kalaktang and is expected to expand in a large-scale set up in years to come under the joint initiative of BU, Kokrajhar.