Posted by Mushbox Admin on 1/11/2011
to What you need to know
One of the first steps to growing mushrooms is to create mycelium. To do that you need some existing mycelium to initiate the growth and allow it to colonize a substrate.
Liquid culture is a sample of live mushroom mycelium suspended in a liquid medium like water or water and a nutrient like karo syrup. It can be stored in a jar or like a spore syringe ready for use. Show me the Liquid Culture.
Live Spawn Culture
Live spawn is an actual live chunk of mycelium already growing. You can extract a sample of this mycelium and create a liquid culture, or simply add your sample to a new substrate and allow it to colonize. Creating a totally new chunk of mycelium. Live spawn products at Spores101.com
Once you have one of the 2 options described above you can inoculate a new substrate with your liquid culture syringe, or do a grain to grain transfer using your live spawn.
Inoculation of substrate using liquid culture
If you have your liquid culture ready to use in a syringe you can prepare your work area for inoculation. Make sure you have a clean working environment and have wiped the area down using alcohol preperation pads or a similar sanitization tool, as well as cleaning all equipment including the needle of your syringe.
Simply push the needle down into the injection port until you have fully penetrated into the substrate. Push down on the plunger to inject the liquid culture contents, please note you only need approx 2-4cc per 1.9L or half gallon of substrate, to much can cause problems and to little can take forever to colonize. Remove the syringe and place the cap back on the needle, repeat the injection process for multiple substrates or save the remaining contents for another time. You can keep spore syringes and liquid culture in the fridge, not the freezer. Now you can place the inoculated new substrate into an incubator and wait for it to colonize.
Direct spawn transfer to new substrate
If you already have a sample of live spawn mycelium instead of a liquid culture syringe you can do a direct spawn transfer to the new substrate. This method is a little more tricky and has more room for error but you can eliminate all of those factors with experience and lots of technology / equipment. However this explanation does not include a glove box, or flowhood and is simply describing the details, this is not meant to be a reliable and guaranteed method.
First you need to extract a sample or chunk of the live spawn mycelium. There is many ways you can do this but the best method is to use a scalpal and tweasers. Cut off a chunk of the spawn mycelium and grab it with the tweazers and simply drop it into the new substrate. Shake or mix it up and incubate, it will colonize much faster than a spore syringe or liquid culture as live spawn mycelium is usaually much more active.
It is important to have as little time exposed to the outside environment as possible during the transfer. You don't want to allow any contaminates to get into your existing spawn or into the new substrate during the extraction and transfer so you can use a glove box or flowhood to reduce the risk of contamination.
Infinite spawn mycelium and liquid culture
With a little common sense and experience it is possible to create a never ending supply of your own liquid culture or live spawn mycelium. Using the same process described above you can duplicate your strains over and over again with new substrates. Just before you fruit all your final mycelium be sure to take a small sample and drop it in agar or liquid culture medium and save it for another day.