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






sterilized, for all practical purposes, the outside of the vessel has not been. Contaminants
can be easily picked up by the hands of the person handling the pressure cooker and

re-distributed to the immediate workstation.
All the more the reason one should disinfect
before beginning transfers.

5. The Inoculum: The inoculum is the tissue that is being transferred, whether this
tissue is a part of a living mushroom, myce-

hum from another petri dish, or spores.
Bacteria and molds can infect the mushroom
tissue and be carried with it every time a transfer is made. Isolation of the inoculum from the
mushroom mycelium can be frustrating, for
many of these contaminant organisms grow

faster than the newly emerging mushroom
mycelium. Cultivators must constantly "run"
or transfer their mycelium away from these
rapidly developing competitors. Several techniques can purify contaminated mycelium.
6. MCU's, Mobile Contamination Units:
Mobile Contamination Units are organisms
that carry and spread contaminants within the
laboratory. These living macro-organisms act
as vehicles spreading contaminants from one
site to another. They are especially damaging
to the laboratory environment as they are difficult to isolate. Ants, flies, mites, and in this
author's case, small bipedal offspring (i. e.
children) all qualify as potential MCU's. Typically, a MCU carries not one contaminant, but
Mites are the most difficult of these MCU's
to control. Their minute size, their preference

for fungi (both molds and mushroom mycehum) as food, and their penchant for travel,
make them a spawn manager's worst nightmare come true. Once mite contamination
levels exceed 10%, the demise of the labora-

tory is only one generation away. The only solution, after the fact, is to totally shut down the
laboratory. All cultures must be removed, in-

cluding petri dishes, spawn jars, etc. The
laboratory should then be thoroughly cleansed
several times. I use a 10% household bleach

solution. The floors, walls, and ceiling are
washed. Two buckets of bleach solution are
used—the first being the primary reservoir, the

second for rinsing out the debris collected in
the first wipe-down. The lab is locked tight for

each day after wash-down. By thoroughly
cleansing the lab three times in succession, the
problem of mites can be eliminated or subdued
to manageable levels. Mycelia are regenerated
from carefully selected stock cultures.
I have discovered "decontamination mats",
those that labs use at door entrances to remove
debris from footwear, are ideal for preventing
cross-contamination from mites and similarly
pernicious MCU's. Stacks of petri dishes are

placed on newly exposed sticky mats on a
laboratory shelf with several inches of space
separating them. These zones of isolation,

with culture dishes incubating upon a highly
adhesive surface, make the migration of mites
and other insects a most difficult endeavor. The
upper sheet is removed every few weeks to ex-

pose a fresh, clean storage plane for new
All of these vectors are universally affected
by one other variable: lime of Exposure. The
longer the exposure of any of the aforementioned
vectors of contamination, the more significant
their impact. Good laboratory technicians are
characterized not only by their speed and care,

but by their rhythm. Transfers are done in a
systematically repetitive fashion. Controlling
the time of exposure can have a drastic impact
on the quality of laboratory technique.

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