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






tainers of media uninoculated. For instance,
the cultivator should always leave some culture dishes uninoculated and unopened. These
"blanks" as I like to call them, give the cultivator
valuable insights as to which vector of contamination is operating. At every step in the
cultivation process, "blanks" should be used

as controls.
The air in the growing rooms does not require
the degree of filtration needed for the laboratory.
Formushroom cultivators, cleaning the air by water misting is practical and effective. (Rain is
nature's best method of cleansing the air.) This
cultivator's regimen calls for the spraying down
of each growing room twice a day. Starting from
the ceiling and broadcasting a spray of water back
and forth, the floor is eventually washed towards
the center gutter. The room feels clean after each
session. Each wash-down of a 1000 sq. ft. growing room takes about 15 minutes. This regimen is
a significant factor in maintaining the quality of
the growing room environment.

3. The Media: Often the medium upon

persist, then sterilizing the extracted water
first, and then re-sterilizing it with standard
malt sugar additives is recommended. Clearly,
sterilization is best achieved when the media

has a naturally low contamination content.
(See Preparation of Media in Chapter 12.)
A good practice for all laboratory managers
is to leave a few samples from each sterilization cycle uninoculated. Not inoculating afew

petri dishes, grain jars, and sawdust/bran
bags and observing them for a period of two
weeks can provide valuable information about
the vectors of contamination. These quality
control tests can easily determine whether or
not the media is at fault or there has been a fail-

ure in the inoculation process. Under ideal
conditions, the uninoculated units should remain contamination-free. If they contaminate
within 48-72 hours, this is usually an indication that

the media or containers were

insufficiently sterilized. If the containers are
not hermetically sealed, and contaminants occur near to the end of two weeks, then the

which a culture is grown becomes the source
of contamination. Insufficient sterilization is
usually the cause. Standard sterilization time
for most liquid media is only 15-20 minutes at
15 psi or 250° F. (1210 C.). However, this exposure time is far too brief for many of the
endospore-forming bacteria prevalent in the
additives currently employed by cultivators. I
recommend at least 40 minutes @ 15 psi for
malt extract or potato dextrose agars. If creating soil extracts, the soil must be soaked for at
least 24 hours, and then the extracted water be
subjected to a minimum of 1 hour of sterilization. Indeed, soil extracts are resplendent with
enormous numbers of contaminants. Because
of the large initial populations, do not be surprised if some contaminants survive this

contamination is probably endemic to the

prolonged sterilization period. Should they

lization is more conceptual than achievable.

laboratory, particularly where these units are
being stored. Under ideal conditions, in a perfect universe, no contamination should occur
no matter how long the uninoculated media is

Many researchers have reported that sawdust needs only to be sterilized for two hours at
15 psi to achieve sterilization. (See Royse et al.

(1990), Stamets and Chilton (1983)). However, this treatment schedule works only for
small batches. When loading an autoclave with

hundreds of tightly packed bags of supplemented sawdust, sterilization for this short a
period will certainly lead to failure.
In the heat treatment of bulk substrates, absolute sterilization is impractical. Here, steri-

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