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






by the cold mass. (This causes considerable

condensation within the autoclave.) Thennal inertia is soon overcome, and Boyle's Law becomes
Many autoclaves not only have a combined

pressure/temperature gauge but also sport a
separate, remote bulb sensor that records tem-

perature deep within the autoclaved mass. This
combination enables the laboratory personnel
to compare readings between the two gauges.
The duration of the autoclave run should not be
timed until these differentials have been largely
eliminated. (A differential of 100 F. should be
considered negligible.) In real terms, the differential is normally eliminated within two hours
of start-up. Obviously smaller vessels have re-

duced differentials while the most massive

autoclaves have substantial contradictions be-

tween pressure and temperature readings.
Since the duration of "sterilization" is critical,
careful consideration of these temperature
trends can not be underemphasiZed. Cultivators often mistakenly believe that the mass has
been autoclaved sufficiently when only partial
sterilization has been effected. Discarding several
hundred bags due to insufficient sterilization is a
strong incentive for cultivators to understand the

nuances of autoclave cycling. Redundant
gauges are recommended since devices fail
over time.

When the steam supply to the autoclave is
cut off, pressure and temperature precipitously
decline. Ideally, your autoclave should achieve
a vacuum as it cools. If your autoclave or steam
box does not have a tight seal, and can not form
a vacuum, provisions must be made so that the
air drawn in is free of airborne contamination.
This usually means the timely opening of the
autoclave into the clean room air just as atmo-

spheric pressure is attained. Commonly, an autoclave can swing in pressure from 20 psi to -20
psi within several hours after steam injection

has stopped. This radical fluctuation in pres-

sure further enhances the quality of the

sterilization cycle. A 40-psi pressure swing is
devastating at the cellular level, disabling any
surviving endo spores of bacteria or conidia of
contaminating molds.

Unloading the Autoclave
Once the autoclave has achieved a vacuum,
the pressure must be returned to atmospheric
before the door can be opened. Ideally, a gate
valve has been installed on the clean room side,
on a pipe connected to the combination pres-

sure/vacuum gauge. A microporous filter
canister can be attached for further insurance
that the rush of air into the autoclave does not

introduce contaminant spores. (See Figure
137). When the pressure has equalized, the
next step is to open the drain valve to draw off
excess condensate. Several gallons of conden-

sate is common. After a few minutes, the
autoclave door on the clean room side can be
If the mass has just been autoclaved, the containers will be too hot to unload by hand unless
protective gloves are worn. With the door ajar,

several hours of cooling are necessary before
the bags can be handled freely. Bear in mind
that, as the mass cools, air is being drawn in. If
that air is full of dust, contamination is likely. I
like to thoroughly clean my laboratory while
the autoclave is running. I remove any suspicious cultures, vacuum and mop the floors, and
wipe the countertopS with alcohol. In a separate pressure cooker, I autoclave towels, extra
water, and other equipment essential to the impending inoculation cycle. Selected personnel
for laboratory work wear laboratory garments

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