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VIETNAM – BioFine Cordyceps Militaris: a valuable Hanoi’s OCOP product

Jenna Duong  HANOI TIMES Sun, 22 Aug, 2021


The Cordyceps Militaris was successfully cultured at the laboratory in Hanoi’s outskirt. Photo: BioFine Fungus and Cordyceps Militaris Cooperative

Cultured Cordyceps is now available in the market with a good quality as one of Hanoi’s OCOP products.

Cordyceps Sinensis fungus, a natural rare and precious half-insect-half-plant, has successfully been cultured in the laboratory of BioFine Fungus and Cordyceps Militaris Cooperative in Quoc Oai district, Hanoi.

Technology is the key                   

The name Cordyceps Sinensis fungus comes from Chinese words meaning “the insect in winter – the fungus in summer”.

Traditional healers in Asia recommend the fungus for “all illnesses” as a tonic because they claim that it improves energy, appetite, stamina, libido, endurance, and sleeping patterns. The fungus has also the reputation of being a precious longevity-promoting herb.

Seeing the high demand of the market for Cordyceps Sinensis fungus, a Hanoi resident, Huy Chieu established the BioFine Fungus and Cordyceps Militaris Cooperative to do research and produce it. 

Born in 1986 in Sai Son commune, Quoc Oai district, Huy Chieu was an electrical engineer who graduated from Hanoi College of Industrial Electrical. However, in 2014, he decided to start a fungus growing business after visiting a mushroom farm in My Duc District, Hanoi. “After a month of studying, I was so eager so I invested VND300 million (over $13,000) to buy mushrooms and build up a farm. However, it failed and I lost everything,” Chieu told The Hanoi Times.


Advanced technologies are applied in growing Cordyceps Militaris

Not giving up, Chieu continued to learn more production techniques and also tried with Cordyceps Militaris. He failed again. “Through many failures, I realized that technology is the solution,” he said.

Accordingly, a closed process of growing Cordyceps Militaris was applied in the cooperative, using advanced technology such as an aseptic room, cold room, steamer, as well as necessary material to grow fungus-like brown rice, coconut water, vitamins, among others. The temperature of the fungus fruiting room is always maintained at 16-20 degrees Celcius and a humidity of 80-90%. Thanks to the technology, every three months, the cooperative produces 6,000 boxes of fresh caterpillar fungus on average.

“With the application of 4.0 technology in production, the cooperative does not have to use growth stimulants, Cordyceps Militaris is naturally antibacterial and has the highest medical concentration for the best quality. The index of Cordycepins and Adenosine is two to five times higher than other products on the market,” Chieu told The Hanoi Times, “In addition, the cooperative’s process of growing fresh Cordyceps Sinensis also meets the strict production standards of the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, the product always provides a good quality in terms of both nutritional indicators and food safety indicators through tests.

The cooperative currently has seven products certified by the Hanoi People’s Committee with 4-star OCOP. Besides Cordyceps Militaris, the cooperative also successfully produced other fungus products, creating regular jobs for 15-20 local workers. “Participating in the OCOP Program motivates us to create more high-quality products to offer to consumers. This is also a basis for the cooperative to find more partners to sell products and expand the market in many provinces and cities across the country,” Chieu said.

Product popularization

Controlling the production technique of growing Cordyceps Militaris is a great success, but bringing the product closer to consumers is more difficult.

Currently, the cooperative is supplying to the market Cordyceps Militaris in fresh, dried, powdered, and soaked with honey. Unlike other products with unclear origins on the market, BioFine’s Cordyceps Militaris is dried by sublimation drying technology, which helps the product keep all its nutrients and can be preserved for up to two years. In addition, the product also has a competitive price advantage because BioFine is the producer, processor, and distributor.

With the strategy of product popularization, the cooperative is researching and preparing to offer two processed product lines including caterpillar fungus tea and syrup. They are more convenient to use and affordable, which will help more consumers have access to Cordyceps Militaris products.

Cordyceps Sinensis is an annual Ascomycetes fungus closely related to the mushroom. Although not actually a mushroom taxonomically, it has been described as an exotic medicinal mushroom in traditional Asian and Tibetan medicine. The normal harvesting period stretches from April to August. In Vietnam, the natural Cordyceps Sinensis grows only in high-altitude regions of about 3800 meters above sea level, in cold, grassy, alpine meadows of the mountains. There are now several companies and cooperatives in Vietnam culturing Cordyceps Militaris. According to health experts, the active ingredients in Cordyceps Militaris have many positive health effects such as antibacterial support, kidney function improvement, physiological enhancement, blood pressure-lowering support, hypoglycemic, and as an antioxidant. Research projects comparing the effects of cultured Cordyceps (Cordyceps Militaris) and wild Cordyceps (Cordyceps Sinensis) show that Cordyceps Militaris can replace Cordyceps Sinensis in health care.  The antioxidant effect in Cordyceps Militaris is superior to that of Cordyceps Sinensis. Cordyceps Militaris also contains significantly higher fatty acid, total amino acids, and polysaccharide content than the natural one.


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