Yang Zugen and His "Silkworm Pupa Aweto"

Feb 21, 2019


There is a Chinese saying “the silkworm’s thread ends only with its death.” This references that once a silkworm spins a cocoon, it becomes a pupa, which becomes a moth, which breaks free from the cocoon and flies off. To most people this would appear to be the end of the silkworm’s life and the end of its usefulness. Not so with Yang Zugen 杨祖根 of Jiahe Silkworm Company in Suzhou’s Wujiang District: He exploits the chain of silkworm business opportunities to the very last.

In Yang’s view, the uses of silkworms are endless: Natural silk can be used for making clothes and quilts; jiangsan (Bombyx batryticatus), silkworm slough, cocoon strippings, silk moth, and silkworm excrement can all be used in traditional Chinese medicine; five-instar silkworm is helpful in reducing blood sugar and treating diabetes; silkworm excrement is good for making pillows and feeding fish; and silkworm pupa is an excellent breeding medium for cultivating “silkworm pupa aweto.” Live silkworm pupa inoculated with aweto bacterium can produce silkworm pupa aweto with a nutritional index that actually surpasses that of natural aweto….

In 2009, his company and Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Science began a joint program to develop silkworm pupa aweto; within two years they succeeded, having solved key technological problems such as the substrate and the selection of strains. Sample testing by the Agricultural Products Quality and Safety Testing Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Shanghai Medical University shows that their products contain rich proteins and more than 10 kinds of amino acids, with the indices for cordycepin, aweto acid, aweto amylose, SOD enzyme and adenosine all reaching or surpassing those of natural awetos.

Today Jiahe Silkworm Company is the standard-setting unit of the silkworm pupa aweto trade in Suzhou. Yang, as the head of the company, is planning to realize another dream—a silkworm culture and health museum. He hopes to show to the public the origins and development of sericulture-related health culture through documents, pictures and silk-worm derivatives. Yang says, “Every part of a fresh cocoon is useful: The pupa is good for cultivating aweto, and the ‘damaged’ cocoon can still be used for making floss silk quilts. Not one bit of this resource needs go to waste. The omnidirectional exploration and exploitation of sericulture re-sources are an important step in transforming traditional agriculture into high-efficiency agriculture.”

 


About the Column

Suzhou-Silk City

Suzhou-Silk City is a book compiled by the Information Office of Suzhou Municipal People's Government and published by Foreign Languages Press Co. Ltd. Suzhou, though associated with classical gardens, is even more the city of silk. The peaks and troughs experienced in Suzhou’s silk making and embroidery worlds are an important aspect of the enduring brilliance of China’s silk art.

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Columns Suzhou-Silk City

Suzhou-Silk City is a book compiled by the Information Office of Suzhou Municipal People's Government and published by Foreign Languages Press Co. Ltd. Suzhou, though associated with classical gardens, is even more the city of silk. The peaks and troughs experienced in Suzhou’s silk making and embroidery worlds are an important aspect of the enduring brilliance of China’s silk art.



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