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






steam, which over many hours, sufficiently
sterilizes the substrate. This method works
well within the model of many rural agricultural communities.
The pressurized steam autoclave is far better
suited for commercial production. The most
useful autoclaves for sterilizing bulk substrates
are horizontal and have two doors. (See Figurel34) Since the autoclave is the centerpiece
upon which the entire production process is dependent, many factors must be considered in its
acquisition: size; configuration and placement.
Another important feature is its ability to hold a
vacuum subsequent to the sterilization cycle. If
the autoclave can not hold a vacuum as it cools,
a valve should be installed for the controlled in-

take of filtered air. If the influx of air is not
filtered, the contents can contaminate after
sterilization. (See Figure 137.)

fitted onto steel pipe. With autoclaves longer
than 6 feet, steam spreader pipes are needed so
that the entire mass heats up evenly. More suggestions follow for choosing an autoclave:

Recommendations for
equipping an autoclave:
I Double-doors (i.e. doors at both ends)
I Redundant pressure/temperature gauges (at
least two)

I Pressure/Vacuum Gauge (+ 50 psi to -


psi) w/valves

I Electrical safety interlocks with warning

I Hand-operated vent valve on top of autoclave for venting cold air

I 25 psi and 50 psi excess-pressure relief,
safety blow-out valves
I Hand-operated drain valve for drawing off


Hospital autoclaves are typically made of
stainless steel and equipped with a pressurized
steam jacket. These types of autoclaves are
usually smaller than those needed by commer-

I Coated with heat-resistant, anti-corrosive

cial mushroom cultivators, measuring only 2 x
3 ft. or 3 x 4 ft. by 3-6 ft. deep. Furthermore,
they usually have only one door, and their pressure ratings have been engineered to operate at
100 psi, far exceeding the needs of most mushroom growers. Unless obtained on the surplus
market for a fraction of their original cost, most
knowledgeable spawn producers avoid these

I One-way gate valve in series with a vacuum
gauge that allows the drawing in of clean-

types of autoclaves. The most cost-effective
vessels are those developed for the canning industries. These are commonly called "retorts"


• At least four 1 inch, and/or two 2 inch ports
for inputs, exhausts, and sensors.

room air post autoclaving. (See Figure 137.)

RecoimnendatiOlls for the
placement of the autoclave:
• Recessed "wells" (2 ft. x 3 ft. x 2 in.) underneath each door, with sealable drains, for
removing excess condensate from the autoclave after opening.
I Length of autoclave framed in its own insu-

lated room (R=18 to R=32 with active

and are constructed of steel pipe, 1/4 to 3/8 inch
thick, and ideally fitted with doors at both ends.
The doors come in a variety of configurations.

I One door of autoclave opens into clean

Quick-opening, spider doors are popular and
durable. Wing-nut knock-off doors are slower

I Escape doors located remote from the door

to open and close but are less expensive to have

exhaust (500 + CFM.))

seals of the autoclave should metal fatigue suddenly release an impassable curtain of steam.

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