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




rooms are stored. The mushroom spores
become a vehicle of contamination

kept in a refrigerator in the same space as

other fungi directly into the stored spawn.

Spoiling mushrooms are often covered with the
very contaminants so dreaded in the laboratory
Another problem with refrigeration rooms is
that the cooling of spawn causes condensation
within the spawn containers. Free water, in the
form of condensation, should always be viewed
with concern by the cultivator. Contaminants
proliferate within the water droplets and are efficiently spread by them. Bacteria, in particular,

reproduce feverishly in free water environments, even at cool temperatures. Further,

refrigeration blowers and cooling elements attract and collect dust particles, which inevitably
must be cleaned. The force of the air blasting
from the cooling elements covers the outer surfaces of the bags with contaminant particles that
are easily transferred by anyone handling
Most often, the filter media, designed to limit
airborne contamination, become the sites of
black and green mold growth. In time, they can
penetrate from the outside into the interior environment of the spawn containers.
If refrigeration is your only alternative, then, by
definition, you have missed the best opportunity:
to use the spawn at its peak of vitality. Nevertheless, every spawn producer faces this dilemma. So,
if you have to refrigerate your spawn, the following precautions are suggested.

1. Treat the refrigeration room as if it were a
clean-room. Analyze all potential contamination vectors. Install a HEPA filter if necessary.
Make sure floors and walls are kept clean by
frequently washing with a 10% bleach solution.
2 Rotate your spawn! Only similarly aged
spawn should be kept together.
3 .When refrigerating spawn, use bags, not jars.

4. Inspect the stored spawn once a week for
visible signs of contamination, especially at the
location of the microporous filter patches. (Al-

though spores may not pass through the
filtration material, mold mycelia can.)
5. Maintain a low relative humidity. The humidity should never exceed 60%, and should
ideally be kept in the 40-50% range.
6. Minimize any material which could become a platform for mold growth, particularly
wood, cardboard, and other paper products.
Lastly, some species are more receptive to
cold storage than others. Some of the tropical
species die upon exposure to cold temperatures.
(Volvariella volvacea is one notable example.)

The cold-weather Oyster strains (Pleurotus

ostreatus and allies) can be shocked into fruit-

ing upon placement into a cold room. One
commonly sees Oyster mushrooms fruiting
frantically in containers which were otherwise
hermetically sealed. The force of fruiting, the
bursting forth of mushrooms within the spawn
containers, can actually cause enough stress to
split plastic seams, unscrew lids on bottles, and

force apart filter membranes.
With the rapid-cycle spawn techniques described in this book, cold storage of spawn is
not necessary and is not recommended. Cold

storage is an option widely utilized by the
Agaricus industry, an industry historically

fractured into specialty companies. When inventories exceed demand, spawn is kept for as
long as possible under refrigeration. Often the
consumer, not knowing better, becomes the
victim of a spawn producer's over-production.
If the spawn fails, the excuse heard, more often than not, is that the spawn was mishandled
by the purchaser. This type of business relation-

and is yet
ship is intrinsically
another reason why mushroom farms should
generate their own spawn.

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