Cordyceps Sinensis: A Case for Sustainable Development

Seminar no. 1223
5 July 2023 Time 12.30 – 13.30 hrs.

Speaker: Prof. Ksenia Gerasimova, HSE University

The enigmatic species of the parasite fungi endemic to the Tibetan Plateau has become the most expensive commodity in the world, with its prices for 1 kg rising up to 800%. In this talk we will explore what stays behind this phenomenon, and what are implications for the Chinese farmers under the climate change. Cordyceps have been severely affected by the drying Tibetan soils and its productivity has fallen significantly. With that the well-being of Tibetan and Chinese farmers has been trhreatened, since collecting cordyceps has been already the substitute of their traditional activities. There is also a gender disparity: women collecting it and men selling the processed dried material. What measures can be effective to prevent Cordyceps from extinction? Biotechnology can offer artificially grown cordyceps, the Chinese government has listed the species as rare, protected ones. Would that help? What will be alternatives to farmers collecting this”winter grass, summer worm”? In the conclusion, the speaker hopes to discuss Cordyceps industry in Thailand.

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