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Mushroom Cultivation
Benefits of Agar Techniques

If you can make jello agar isn't difficult. Buy the antibiotic agar (MEA with gentamycin) from fungi perfecti. Even if you have a tiny spore print, you can swipe it across a number of agar plates and see which colony grows fastest, ropiest, etc.

One can use Kerr half pint jars with 1/2" agar in the bottom, autoclave or pressure cooker sterilize, have a dozen or more on hand.

If innoculating vermiculite blocks from agar do it thus:
  1. Flood the agar with sterilized water.
  2. Cut the agar up into little pieces with a flame sterilized knife or scrape the mycelium off the agar into the water.
  3. Shake like hell.
  4. Suck the mycelium water up into a syringe and use as spore water would be used to innoculate vermiculite.

The advantages?

1. From innoculation of the vermiculite to first fruit is three weeks or less.

2. Pick the biggest fastest growing fruit and cut a little piece of stem. Plant 5-6 agar dishes with stem cuttings and you now have this many plates ready for the next innoculations.

3.The cultures from mycelium are clones. Spore water gives a different genetic mix in every bottle.

4.Contaminants are easily visualized. If your agar plates grow a contaminant (using the water you used from innoculating vermiculite blocks) you know the whole mess has to go weeks before you would know this with spore water.

5. Agar lets you find the source of the contaminant...if you use just plain water on one plate, water plus mycelium just before innoculating any blocks for another, and water with mycelium at the end of the run on another you'll see at whatpoint the contaminant came in. If the first plate grows a contaminant the water itself wasn't sterile. If the last plate but not the middle plate grows a contaminant then it got in from the air while you were working.

6. Agar plates can be stored in the fridge. If a contaminant gets into your setup you can thoroughly sterilize everything and start over with the same clone. Starting over from spores may bring back the contaminant (since you're not subculturing it out) and won't be genetically the same.