How To Clone Mushrooms
Scientists were able to create the world's first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell after a very long time.
Fortunately, cloning mushrooms isn't a big deal. It is something a novel mycologist could do at home with ease.
Why Clone Mushrooms
There are various ways reasons you would want to clone mushrooms, and they are
- To reproduce wild strains:
The forest is the home of all mushroom species. You could collect their spores from spreading these wild mushrooms, but you have to know the genetics of the plant. Cloning wild strains of mushrooms allow you to replicate from the wild and nurture them.
- Finding valuable traits:
Cloning allows you to replicate mushrooms with unique genetic differences, colors, and shapes. These unique traits could be used for future benefits.
- Copy cultivated mushrooms:
Cloning allows you to take mushroom species from the forest, make identical genetic copies in the lab and grow them for consumption. You can also clone mushrooms you bought or nurtured yourself.
The Cloning Process
The process of cloning mushrooms is easy, and it takes the same process to clone whether a wild species or cultivated species of mushroom.
All you need to do is harvest a piece of tissue from a mushroom, put it on agar, and allow the vegetative part of the plant to grow until you have a perfect culture. This method works because the mushroom would still be alive even after being picked. The cells can still reproduce.
The cells grow by moving the live tissue to a nutrient agar, spreading the vegetative parts across the plate.
Why Not Start From Spores
You could always find new species by starting from spores instead of creating a clone.
The result from starting with spores is unpredictable. It does not guarantee the genetics of the mushroom are preserved.
Cloning is a way to ensure that the genetics of your culture will be the same as the genetics of the parent mushroom.
If you are looking for predictable results, do not start with spores.
The tissue can be taken from any part of the mushroom, but the best place to get productive cells is the stem butt. Here is where you will find the remnants of the mycelium under the cap or smack dab in the middle of the stem.
Note: It is not advisable to harvest actual fill tissue. It is because it is not clean and covered with spores which may grow into a new species different from your clone.
It is also hard to ensure cleanliness if harvesting tissue from the stem butt.
It is best to harvest tissue inside the stem because it gets the cleanest sample though it develops slowly.
Cloning At Home
Cloning can be done quickly at home. Do not be afraid to try it.
The steps are listed below.
- Select fruit and clean:
Firstly, select the mushroom you want to use.
Harvest a relatively fleshly mushroom because small or thin mushrooms can be hard to obtain tissue. Next, clean the mushroom fruitbody with a cloth soaked in alcohol. It will make the mushroom not edible.
Clean if the fruit gets exposed to contaminants that could grow on the plate. Cleaning the fruit can also reduce the chances of contamination.
- Tear the fruit in half:
After cleaning, tear the fruit in half in a sterile environment.
Tear the mushroom instead of cutting it to prevent contaminants from entering the inside of the fruit. The inside of the mushroom is sterile and contains fertile cells.
- Transfer tissue:
Use a scalpel sterilized with a flame to remove a small part of the tissue from inside the mushroom.
It is advisable to sterilize the scalpel before tearing up the mushroom to cool in the process. The scalpel should be cool before touching the tissue. If not, it could kill the tissue.
The most accessible place to remove tissue is the fleshiest part of the mushroom. Remove tissue by scraping your scalpel along with the fruit a few times.
Bring the tissue upstream and place it on the agar plate.
This process should be as fast as possible to reduce the time the agar plate is kept open.
Placing multiple pieces of tissue on each plate is advisable.
- Clean, colonize and store
After inoculating the tissue, wrap the plates in parafilm or masking tape and store them at room temperature away from sunlight. Please keep them in a place free from contaminants.
You should see mycelium starting to grow after 2 to 3 days.
There is a possibility of contamination when working with wild species. When using wild species, perform culture transfers by removing the clean mycelium from the contaminated agar plate to a new dish.
Doing this process a few times would give you a clean culture.
If your plate is contaminated, discard the culture and try again.
- Wild mushrooms
It is a strain of Trametes with the botanical name Trametes hirsuta cloned recently. It took one transfer to get a clean culture.
Another mushroom, Agaricus campestris, an Agaricus species, was cloned recently.
When cloning wild mushrooms for consumption and cultivation purposes, make sure you identify the species.
Mushrooms bought from the store were also cloned. You could clone Shittake, Button mushrooms, and even oysters.
Make sure the species you get are fresh to increase the likelihood of success.
Saving A Strain
After being placed in a fridge, a strain of pink oysters with the botanical name Pleurotus djamor was almost lost. Most strains of pink cannot survive low temperatures.
After being placed in the fridge, a fruiting block with fresh pink oyster fruit was obtained. The fruit was cloned and thereby saving the fruit.
Cloning is an essential skill for all mycologists to have. You could find new species for cultivation or save fruits with unique traits at ease.
The statements from this article are very vital and helpful, but the FDA has not examined them. Don't see this information as an avenue to self-medicate and ignore proper consultation with your health practitioner. Our products are not meant to be used for preventing, treating, or diagnosing any health issue.
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