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






profound implications on the integrity of the
entire operation.
The growing of mushroom mycelium in absence of competitors is in total contradiction to
nature. In other words, the laboratory is an arti-

ficial environment, one designed to forestall
the tide of contaminants seeking to colonize
the same nutritious media that has been set out
for the mushroom mycelium. This was a frightening state of affairs for most would-be

cultivators until books like The Mushroom
Cultivator by Stamets & Chilton (1983) and
this one offered simple techniques for making
sterile culture practical for mushroom cultivators. These volumes represent, historically, a
critical step in the passing of the power of sterile tissue culture to the masses at large.
Before the advent of HEPA filters*, sterile
culture work succeeded only by constantly bat-

tling legions of contaminants with toxic
disinfectants, presenting real health hazards to
the laboratory personnel. Now, the use of disin-

fectants is minimized because the air is

constantly being re-filtered and cleaned. Once
airborne contamination is eliminated, the other
vectors of contamination become much easier
to control. (Please consult Chapter 10 for the
Six Vectors of Contamination.)
Most people reading this book will retrofit a
bedroom or walk-in pantry in their home. Large
scale, commercial operations will require a
separate building. In either case, this chapter will
describe the parameters necessary for designing
and building a laboratory. If you are building a

laboratory and pay strict attention to the concepts outlined herein, contamination will be

HEPA = High Efficiency ParticulateAirFilters

eliminate particulates down to .3 microns with an
efficiency rating of 99.99%. ULPA (Ultra-Particulate
Air) filters screen out particles down to .1 u m with
99.9999% efficiency.

minimized. Like a musical instrument, the laboratory must be fine tuned for best results. Once
the lab is up and running, a sterile state of equilibrium will preside for a short time. Without

proper maintenance, the lab, as we say

"crashes". The laboratory personnel must constantly clean and stay clean while they work.
Since the laboratory personnel are the greatest
threat to the lab's sterility, they must shoulder the
responsibility for every failure.
The laboratory should be far removed from

the growing rooms, preferably in a separate
building. The air of the laboratory is always
kept free of airborne particulates while the
growing rooms' air becomes saturated with
mushroom spores. The growing rooms are destined to contaminate. Even the spores of
mushrooms should be viewed as potential con-

taminants threatening the laboratory. If both
the laboratory and growing rooms are housed
in the same building, contamination is much
more likely. Since the activities within the
laboratory and growing rooms are distinctly
different, separate buildings are preferred. I
know of several large mushroom farms which
built their spawn laboratory in amidst their
growing rooms. Their ability to generate pure
culture spawn is constantly being jeopardized
by the contaminants coming from the growing
rooms. Every day, the laboratory manager
faces a nightmarish barrage of contaminants.
A good flow pattern of raw materials
through the laboratory, and of mature cultures
out of the laboratory is essential. Farms with

bad flow patterns must constantly wage war
against seas of contaminants. The concepts are
obvious. The positioning of the growing room
exhaust fans should be oriented so as not to direct a "spore stream of contaminants" into the
laboratory filtration system. Furthermore, the
design of a mushroom farm's buildings should

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