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






consider that the starting pH of make-up water
affects the final outcome. Each cultivator must
compensate accordingly.

The Bleach Bath Method

Similar to the hydrated lime method, but
household bleach (5.25% sodium hypochlorite) is used as a disinfectant. I recommend
adding 5-6 cups of household bleach to 50 gallons of water. A basketful of chopped wheat

straw is immersed. The straw is kept sub-

merged for a minimum of 4 and no more than
12 hours. The bleach leachate is drained off.
The straw is immediately inoculated. Should

colonization not be complete within two

weeks, contaminants naturally occur. Cultivators should be careful where the toxic leachate
is drained.

The Detergent Bath Method
This method simply utilizes biodegradable
detergents containing fatty oils to treat bulk sub-

strates. Coupled with surfactants which allow
thorough penetration, these detergents kill a ma-

jority of the contaminants competitive to

mushroom mycelium. The substrate is submerged into and washed with a detergent
solution.The environmentally benign waste water is discarded, leaving the substrate ready for
inoculation. Recently, many environmentally
safe soaps have been developed, especially in
Europe. Cultivators are encouraged to experi-

ment to match the best detergents to their
substrate materials. Here again, the goal is to
create a process that is both simple and applicable for small and large scale cultivators.

The Yeast Fermentation Method
The fourth alternative method for rendering
straw is biological. Straw can be biologically
treated using yeast cultures, specifically strains of

beer yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This
method, by itself, is not as effective as those previ-

ously described, but has achieved limited success.
First a strain of beer yeast is propagated in 50

gallons (200 liters) warm water to which malt

sugar has also been added. Recommended
rates vary. Usually a 1-5% sugar broth is concocted. Fermentation proceeds for two to three
days undisturbed in a sealed drum at room temperature (75° F., 24° C.). Another yeast culture
can be introduced for secondary, booster fermentation that lasts for another 24 hours. After
this period of fermentation, chopped straw is
then forcibly submerged into the yeast broth
for no more than 48 hours. Not only do these
yeasts multiply, absorbing readily available nu-

trients, which can then be consumed by the
mushroom mycelium, but metabolites such as
alcohol and anti-bacterial by-products are generated in the process, killing competitors.
Upon draining, the straw is inoculated using
standard procedures.
Another method of submerged fermentation
uses the natural resident microflora from the
bulk substrate. After 3-4 days of room tempera-

ture fermentation, a microbial soup of great
biological complexity evolves. The broth is
now discarded and the substrate is inoculated.
Although highly odoriferous for the first two
days, the offensive smell soon disappears and
is replaced by the sweet fragrance of actively
growing mycelium. I hesitate to recommend it
over the other procedures described here.

The outcome of any one of these methods
greatly depends on the cleanliness of the straw
being used, the water quality, the spawn rate,

and the aerobic state of the substrate during
colonization. These methods generally do not
result in the high consistency of success (>
95%) typical with heat pasteurization techniques. However, with refinement, these
simple and cheap alternatives may prove practical wherever steam is unavailable.

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