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






Catastrophia: Nature
as a Substrate Supplier
Many saprophytic fungi benefit from catastrophic events in the forests. When
hurricane-force winds rage across woodlands,

enormous masses of dead debris are generated. The older trees are especially likely to

fall. Once the higher canopy is gone, the
growth of the younger, lower canopy of trees is

triggered by the suddenly available sunlight.
The continued survival of young trees is dependent upon the quick recycling of nutrients
by the saprophytic fungi.
Every time catastrophes occur—hurricanes,

tornadoes, volcanoes, floods, even earthquakes—the resulting dead wood becomes a
stream of inexpensive substrate materials. In a
sense, the cost of mushroom production is underwritten by natural disasters. Unfortunately,
to date, few individuals and communities take
advantage of catastrophia as fortuitous events

Figure 13. Scanning electron micrograph of the

for mushroom culture. However, once the eco-

mushrooms grown in these environments

nomic value of recycling with gourmet and
medicinal mushrooms is clearly understood,
and with the increasing popularity of backyard

cultivation, catastrophia can be viewed as a
positive event, at least in terms of providing
new economic opportunities for those who are
mycologically astute.

Mushrooms and
Toxic Wastes
In heavily industrialized areas, soils are of-

ten contaminated with a wide variety of

mycelial network.

should not be eaten. Recently, a visitor to
a city about 60 miles
Chernobyl, the site of the world's




nuclear power plant accident, returned to the
United States with ajar of pickled mushrooms.
The mushrooms were radioactive enough to
set off Geiger counter alarms as the baggage
was being processed. The mushrooms were
promptly confiscated by Customs officials.
Unfortunately, most toxins are not so readily

A number of fungi can, however, be used

pollutants, particularly petroleum-based compounds, polychlorinated biphenols (PCB's).
heavy metals, pesticide-related compounds,
and even radioactive wastes. Mushrooms

to detoxify contaminated environments, a
process called "bioremediation". The white

grown in polluted environments can absorb
toxins directly into their tissues. As a result,


fungi (particularly Phanerochaete
chrysosporiuin) and brown rot fungi (notably


species) are the most widely

used. Most of these wood-rotters produce hg-

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