Molecular Phylogenetic Diversity, Taxonomic Reassessment and Pharmacological Potential of Cordycipitaceae Species in Taiwan

Molecular Phylogenetic diversity, taxonomic reassessment and pharmacological potential of 

Cordycipitaceae species in Taiwan


Yu-Chen Lin1, Wei-Yu Chuang1, Shih-Cheng Wang1, Bhushan Shrestha2, Jennifer Luangsa-Ard3, Shean-Shong Tzean1, Marc Stadler4, Shipher Wu5, Chiun-Cheng Ko6, Sung-Yuan Hsieh7, Meng-Ling Wu8, Lean-Teik Ng9, Tang-Long Shen1*, Hiran A. Ariyawansa1*


1Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, College of Bioresources and Agriculture, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

2Madan Bhandari University of Science and Technology, Chitlang-9, Thaha Municipality, Makwanpur, Nepal

3BIOTEC, National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA)

111 Thailand Science Park, Phahonyothin Road, Khlong Nueng, Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani, Thailand

4Department Microbial Drugs, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research GmbH (HZI), Braunschweig, Germany

5Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan

6Department of Entomology, College of Bioresources and Agriculture, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan

7Bioresource Collection and Research Center, Food Industry Research and Development Institute, Hsinchu, Taiwan

8Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, Taipei, Taiwan

9Department of Agricultural Chemistry, College of Bioresources and Agriculture, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan




The species classified in Cordycipitaceae (Hypocreales) contains mainly entomopathogenic fungi, and some are used as herbal medicines in eastern cultures. Even though the molecular systematics and bioactivity of Cordycipitaceae species have seen considerable examination over the past two decades, our understanding of the diversity and bioactivity of Cordycipitaceae species in Taiwan remains limited. Here we conducted a comprehensive assessment of cordycipitaceous fungi all over Taiwan and delivered a glimpse of their pharmacological potential. Phylogenetic reconstructions using the concatenation of five loci (ITS, nrLSU, tef1-α, rpb1, and rpb2) together with phenotypic characters, resulted in ten new taxa namely, Akanthomyces taiwanicum sp. nov., Blackwellomyces taiwanensis sp. nov., Cordyceps hehuanensis sp. nov., C. locastrae sp. nov., C. malleiformis sp. nov., C. pseudorosea sp. nov.,  C. siangyangensis sp. nov., Samsoniella lasiocampidarum sp. nov., S. yuanzuiensis sp. nov., and Simplicillium salviniae sp. nov. and ten new records namely, A. attenuatus, A. kanyawimiae, Beauveria liiB. medogensis, C. jakajanicola, C. lepidopterorum, C. neopruinosa, S. cardinalis, S. hepiali, and Si. chinense. Among the 86 Cordycipitaceae collections, C. militaris, C. hehuanensis, and C. malleiformis were found to produce cordycepin based on the mycelium hot water extraction. Results from MTT assay suggest the methanol extraction of Cpseudorosea and C. hehuanensis harbor anti-cancer properties against breast cancer (MDA-MB-231) and lung cancer (A549). Additionally, the methanol extraction of C. hehuanensis displayed significant NO inhibition on RAW 264.7 without cytotoxic effects. These results provide insights into the diversity and pharmacological potential of cordycipitaceous fungi in Taiwan.