Identification of a novel component leading to anti-tumor activity besides the major ingredient cordycepin in Cordyceps militaris extract

Takeharu Wada, I. Wayan Sumardika, Shingo Saito, I. Made Winarsa Ruma, Eisaku Kondo, Masami Shibukawa, Masakiyo Sakaguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


In accordance with our previous study that was carried out to identify novel anti-tumor ingredients, chromatographic separation in combination with an anti-tumor activity assay was used for analysis of Cordyceps militaris extract in this study. Various modes of chromatography including reversed-phase, cation-exchange and anion-exchange were used to separate components of Cordyceps militaris, which showed various chemical properties. Anti-tumor activity of each fraction was assessed by a Hoechst staining-based apoptosis assay using malignant melanoma MeWo cells. By these repeated approaches through chromatographic segregation and cell biological assay, we finally succeeded in identifying the target substance from a certain fraction that included neutral hydrophilic components using a pre-column and post-column chlorine adduct ionization LC–APCI–MS method. The target substance was a mono-carbohydrate, xylitol, that induced apoptotic cell death in MeWo cells but not in normal human OUMS-24 fibroblasts. This is the first study showing that Cordyceps militaris extract contains a large amount of xylitol. Thus, our results will contribute greatly to uncovering the mysterious multifunctional herbal drug Cordyceps militaris as an anti-tumor agent.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-219
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chromatography B: Analytical Technologies in the Biomedical and Life Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2017



  • Anti-tumor
  • Cordyceps militaris
  • Liquid chromatography mass spectrometry
  • Melanoma
  • Solid phase extraction
  • Xylitol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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