Growing gourmet and medical mushrooms

Paul Stamets. Growing gourmet and medical mushrooms. - Ten Speed Press, 2000


1. Mushrooms, Civilization and History

2. The Role of Mushrooms in Nature

3.Selecting a Candidate for Cultivation

4. Natural Culture: Creating Mycological Landscapes

5. The Stametsian Model: Permaculture with a Mycological Twist

6. Materials fo rFormulating a Fruiting Substrate

7. Biological Efficiency: An Expression of Yield

8. Home-made vs. Commercial Spawn

9. The Mushroom Life Cycle

10. The Six Vectors of Contamination

11. Mind and Methods for Mushroom Culture

12. Culturing Mushroom Mycelium on Agar Media

13. The Stock Culture Library: A Genetic Bank of Mushroom Strains

14. Evaluating a Mushroom Strain

15. Generating Grain Spawn

16. Creating Sawdust Spawn

17. Growing Gourmet Mushrooms on Enriched Sawdust

18. Cultivating Gourmet Mushrooms on Agricultural Waste Products

19. Cropping Containers

20. Casing: A Topsoil Promoting Mushroom Formation

21. Growth Parameters for Gourmet and Medicinal Mushroom Species

Spawn Run: Colonizing the Substrate

Primordia Formation: The Initiation Strategy

Fruitbody (Mushroom) Development

The Gilled Mushrooms

The Polypore Mushrooms of the Genera Ganoderma, Grifola and Polyporus

The Lion’s Mane of the Genus Hericium

The Wood Ears of the Genus Auricularia

The Morels: Land-Fish Mushrooms of the Genus Morchella

The Morel Life Cycle

22. Maximizing the Substrate’s Potential through Species Sequencing

23. Harvesting, Storing, and Packaging the Crop for Market

24. Mushroom Recipes: Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labors

25. Cultivation problems & Their Solutions: A Troubleshoting guide


I. Description of Environment for a Mushroom Farm

II. Designing and Building A Spawn Laboratory

III. The Growing Room: An Environment for Mushroom Formation & Development

IV. Resource Directory

V. Analyses of Basic Materials Used in Substrate Preparation

VI. Data Conversion Tables






sue culture technique is also a philosophy of
behavior, ever-adjusting to ever-changing cir-

early stages of spawn production. Several
tracks lead to successfully growing mush-

cumstances. Much like a martial art, the

rooms. For indoor, high-intensity cultivation,

cultivator develops keen senses to constantly
evaluate threats to the integrity of the sterile
laboratory. These enemies to sterile culture are
largely invisible and are embodied within the
term "contaminant".
A contaminant is anything you don't want to

three basic steps are required for the cultivation

grow. Classically, Penicillium molds are contaminants to mushroom culture. However, if you are
growing Shiitake mushrooms, and a near-by fruit-

ing of Oyster mushrooms generates spores that
come into the laboratory, then the Oyster spores
would be considered the "contaminant". So the
definition of a contaminant is a functional one—
it being any organism you don't want to culture.
The laboratory environment is a sanctuary,
a precious space, to be protected from the tur-

moils of the outside world. Maintaining the
cleanliness of a laboratory is less work than
having to deal with the aftermath wreaked by
contamination. Hence, contaminants, as soon
as they appear, should be immediately isolated
and carefully removed so neighboring media
and cultures are not likewise infected.

Overview of Techniques for
Cultivating Mushrooms
The stages for cultivating mushrooms parallel the development of the mushroom life cycle.

The mass of mycelium is exponentially expanded millions of times until mushrooms can
be harvested. Depending upon the methodology, as few as two petri dishes of mushroom
mycelium can result in 500,000-1,000,000 lbs.
of mushrooms in as short as 12 weeks! If any

contaminants exist in the early stages of the
spawn production process, they will likewise be

expanded in enormous quantities. Hence, the
utmost care must be taken, especially at the

of mushrooms on straw (or similar material)
and four for the cultivation of mushrooms on
supplemented sawdust. Within each step, several generations of transfers occur, with each
resulting in five-to hundred-fold increases in
mycelial mass.
I. Culturing Mycelium on NutrifiedAgar
Media: Mushroom mycelium is first grown on
sterilized, nutrified agar media in petri dishes
and/or in test tubes. Once pure and grown out,
cultures are transferred using the standard cutwedge technique. Each culture incubating in
100 x 15mm. petri dish can inoculate 10 quarts
(liters) of grain spawn. (See Figure 63) If the
mycelium is chopped in a high-speed stirrer and

diluted, one petri dish culture can effectively
inoculate 40-100 quarts (liters) of sterilized
grain. These techniques are fully described in
the ensuing pages.
II. Producing Grain Spawn: The cultures
in the petri dishes can be expanded by inoculating sterilized grain housed in bottles,jars, or
bags. Once grown out, each jar can inoculate 10
(range: 5-20) times its original mass for a total

of three generations of expansions. Grain
spawn can be used to inoculate pasteurized
straw (or similar material) or sterilized sawdust.
Grain spawn is inoculated into sawdust, straw,
etc. at a rate between 3-15% (wet mass of spawn
to dry mass of substrate).

III. Producing Sawdust Spawn: Sawdust
spawn is inoculated with grain spawn. Sawdust
spawn is best used to inoculate a "fruiting substrate", typically logs or supplemented sawdust
formulas. One 5 lb. bag of sawdust spawn can
effectively inoculate 5-20 times its mass, with
a recommended rate of 10:1 Sawdust-to-saw-

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