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






The principal vectors of contamination are:

1. The Cultivator
2. The Air
3. The Media
4. The Tools

5. The Inoculum
6. Mobile Contamination
Units (MCU's)
The over-riding coefficients affecting each
vector are the number of contaminants and the
exposure time. The more of each, the worse the
infestation. This book does not go into detail as
to the identity of the common contaminants.
However, my previous book, The Mushroom
Cultivator (1983), co-authored with Jeff
Chilton, has extensive chapters on the identity
of the molds, bacteria, and insects. The reader
is encouraged to refer to that manual for the
identification of contaminants. All contaminants are preventable by eliminating the Six
Vectors of Contamination. If you have difficulty determining the vector of contamination,

or a solution to a problem, please refer to
Chapter 25: Cultivation Problems and Their
Solutions: A Trouble-Shooting Guide.

1. You, The Cultivator: The human body
teems with populations of micro-organisms.
Diverse species of fungi (including yeast),
bacteria and viruses call your body their home.
When you are healthy, the populations of these
microorganisms achieve an equilibrium.
When you are ill, one or more of these groups

proliferate out of control. Hence, unhealthy
people should not be in a sterile laboratory, lest
their disease organisms escape and proliferate
to dangerous proportions.

Most frequently, contaminants are spread
into the sterile laboratory via touch or breath.
Also, the flaking of the skin is a direct cause.
Many cultivators wear gloves to minimize the

threat of skin-borne contaminants. I, personally, find laboratory gloves uncomfortable and
prefer to wash my hands every 20 or 30 minutes with antibacterial soap. Additionally my
hands are disinfected with 80% isopropyl alcohol immediately before inoculations, and
every few minutes throughout the procedure.
2. The Air: Air can be described as a sea of
microorganisms, hosting invisible contami-

nants that directly contaminate sterilized
media once exposed. Many particulates remain suspended. When a person walks into
the laboratory, he not only brings in contami-

nants that will become airborne, but his
movement disturbs the contaminant-laden
floor, re-releasing contaminants into the lab's
Several steps can prevent this vector of contamination. One rule-of-thumb is to always
have at least three doors prior to entry into the
sterile laboratory from the outside. Each room
or chamber shall, by default, have fewer airborne particulates the nearer they are to the
laboratory. Secondly, by positive-pressurizing
the laboratory with an influx of air through micron filters, the airstream will naturally be
directed against the entering personnel. (For
the design of the air system for a laboratory, see
Appendix I).

For those not installing micron filters, sev-

eral alternative remedies can be employed.
Unfortunately, none of these satisfactorily
compare with the efficiency of micron filters.

"Still-air" laboratories make use of aerosol
sprays—either commercial disinfectants like
Pinesol® or a dilute solution of isopropanol or
bleach. The cultivator enters the work area and
sprays a mist high up in the laboratory,
walking backwards as he retreats. As the disin-

fecting mist descends, airborne particulates
are trapped, carrying the contaminants to the

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