The cultivation of Cordyceps militaris, vs Cordyceps sinensis
In Traditional Chinese Medical practice, C. militaris and C. sinensis are the two species of Cordyceps that are the most widely used and valued.
C. sinensis has been the most well known and expensive, originally collected in and around Tibet. It cannot be grown easily in culture, and is now becoming comparatively rare as the natural populations are decreasing from over harvesting. As a result of this, and the lack of mandatory quality control, many C. sinensis products on the market no longer contain pure Cordyceps, but contain added ingredients, the nature and safety of which are unknown. Wild C. sinensis possess not only low amounts of cordycepin, but the levels of bioactive ingredients are also known to fluctuate.
C. militaris was recognised in the past as having similar health benefitting effects as C. sinensis, but recently has been established to actually be more effective, as it has higher concentrations of the main active ingredient, Cordycepin. C. militaris has been successfully and easily cultivated, thus making it much more affordable.
In the wild, diverse growing conditions (e.g. type of growth medium, contaminants, light, etc.) can affect the levels of Cordycepin, which can vary from less than 200 to 600 ppm (parts per million).
High quality Cordyceps and Higher concentrations of bioactive ingredients
TOL has developed a patent pending unique procedure for C. militaris cultivation : a selective strain, use of innovative technology with a well developed cultivation protocol; use of modern analytical measurements and high standards of quality control, have allowed TOL to create and consistently produce a superior grade of C. militaris with levels of Cordycepin in excess of double that found in Cordyceps cultivated elsewhere; and over 10x that found in wild Cordyceps.
Traceability & Quality Control
- We do not compromise on the standards and safety in any step of our C. militaris production, and have implemented stringent hygiene standards, quality control and safety measures, to ensure consistency in the quality and safety or our products. GMP, HACCP and ISO 9001 certifications have been awarded to TOL.
- Reliable traceability has also been developed for controlling and monitoring the finished product. The lot number is shown on the label of every single package produced by TOL, which can be used to track that individual batch to test results from an independent reputable lab. Quality assurance procedures are carried out to fulfill product quality requirements and provide confidence for our consumers.
- Bioactive compounds contained, especially cordycepin, are analyzed and analysis patterns are kept for quality guarantee as well as product verification. The DNA finger print of C. militaris TOLA00 has been tested and used as a specific marker to identify its origin. With this “fingerprint”, we can determine the authenticity of our products.
Traceability systems are used to investigate a product’s history. This includes the ability to chronologically identify the unique entities of a product in each stage, in a way that is verifiable. TOL realizes the importance of a traceability system with regards to product control, monitoring and ensuring product safety, so we have established a reliable trace back procedure for our Cordyceps product in various aspects, namely:
1) Production process and record information
2) Product quality control and certificate of analysis and
3) Molecular identity.
1) Standard regulation (Quality assurance, QA)
Manufacturers who commit to standard regulations like e.g. GMP, HACCP, ISO etc, are required to include a quality assurance (QA) system to ensure the quality of, and avoid any defects in, their product. QA is also useful for monitoring and tracing back the product’s origin by using all documented records of each product, batch by batch.
2.) Certificate of analysis
Analysis patterns can be a tool to identify the product as well. A sample of every batch of TOL’s Cordyceps is sent to an external lab for bioactive compound determination, and a chromatogram of each analysis is obtained. The chromatogram profile derived from the same product and test methodology should be identical.
Pictured above is an analysis chromatogram of TOL C. militaris obtained using HPLC approach. As clearly seen, this kind of chromatogram possesses its own characterization in both quantitative and qualitative aspects which is unique from other samples. Peaks at certain retention times imply the presence of different substances contained in the sample and peak heights show the amount of each of those substances present.
3) DNA fingerprint
A DNA fingerprint is the genetic profile of an organism, which is very specific and unique . TOL’s C. militaris fingerprint has been investigated and specific loci have been identified to develop the genetic pattern. This pattern is unique and different from other Cordyceps species, as well as being dissimilar from other C. militaris strains. DNA fingerprinting is a powerful marker that enables us to identify our unique C. militaris strain.
Figure A shows a DNA band from electrophoresis result under uv light. The single sharp band likely indicates that the product contains only 1 species with no degradation of DNA during extraction. 18sRNA sequence also confirms that TOL product is true C. militaris with 100% match of C. militaris CM-LH from ncbi database (Figure B).