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




become infected. (See Figure 81.) Mycelium
arising from such germinations are frequently
associated with a high contamination rate, un-

fortunately often not experienced until the
mycelium is transferred to grain media. How-

ever, if the spore prints are made correctly,
contamination is usually not a problem.

Once inoculated, the petri dish cultures
should be taped with an elastic film (such as
ParafilmTM) which protects the incubating
mycelium from intrusive airborne contaminants. (See Figure 58.)

Purifying a Culture
Many cultures originating from spores or tissue are associated with other micro-organisms.

Several techniques are at one's disposal for
cleaning up a culture. Depending upon the type
and level of contamination, different measures
are appropriate.
One way of cleaning a bacterially infested
culture is by sandwiching it between two lay-

ers of media containing an antibiotic such as
gentamycin sulfate. The hyphae, the cells com-

posing the mycelium, are arranged as long
filaments.These filamentous cells push through
the media while the bacteria are left behind. The
mycelium arising on the top layer of media will
carry a greatly reduced population of bacteria,
if any at all. Should the culture not be purified

the first time using this procedure, a second
treatment is recommended, again subculturing
from the newly emerged mycelium. Repeated
attempts increase the chances of success.
If the culture is mixed with other molds, then
the pH of the media can be adjusted to favor the

mushroom mycelium. Generally speaking,
many of the contaminant fungi are strong
acidophiles whereas Oyster mushrooms grow
well in environments near to a neutral pH. If

these mold fungi sporulate adjacent to the


mycelia of mushrooms, isolation becomes difficult. * Remember, the advantage that molds
have over mushroom mycelia is that their life
cycles spin far faster, and thousands of mold
spores are generated in only a few days. Once
molds produce spores, any disturbance—including exposure to the clean air coming from
the laminarfiow hood—creates satellite colonies.

One rule is to immediately subculture all
points of visible growth away from one another as

soon as they become visible. This method disperses the colonies, good and bad, so they can be

dealt with individually. Repeated subculturing
and dispersal usually results in success. If not,
then other alternative methods can be implemented.
Mycelia of all fungi grow at different rates
and are acclimated to degrading different base
materials. One method I have devised for sepa-

rating mushroom mycelium from mold
mycelium is by racing the mycelia through organic barriers. Glass tubes can filled with finely
chopped, moistened straw, wood sawdust, even
crushed corncobs (without kernels) and sterilized. The contaminated culture is introduced to
one end of the tube. The polyculture of contaminants of mushroom mycelium races through the
tube, and with luck, the mushroom mycelium
is favorably selected, reaching the opposite end
first. At this point, the cultivator simply transfers a sample of emerging mycelium from the
end of the tube to newly poured media plates.
The cultures are then labelled, sealed and ob*

The spores of most mold fungi become distinctly pigmented at

matuiity. SomePenicillium molds are typically blue-green.Aspergillus species range in color from black to green to yellow.

Neurospora can be pink. A few molds, such as Monilia or
Verticillium, produce white colonies. For more information on
these competitors, please consult The Mushroom Cultivator
(1983) by Stamets & Chilton.

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