Knowing how to make a mushroom spore print is invaluable for any promising mycologist.
If you are interested in looking for wild mushrooms, spore printing can help identify the type of mushroom you found.
If you want to nurture mushrooms using spores, you must know how to gather and store the spores properly.
WHAT ARE SPORES
A spore is like a 'seed' containing exactly half of the genetic component required to produce mushrooms.
The release of spores comes from the gills under the cap of a grown mushroom. When released into the atmosphere, they land in different places where they germinate to produce fine white strands of vegetative cells.
Depending on the strain, spores could have different sizes, shapes, and colors. About a billion spores are released into the environment.
Spore color is the factor visible to the human eye, so a good spore print is essential for identifying mushrooms.
HOW TO MAKE A MUSHROOM SPORE PRINT
It doesn't require much to make a spore print.
Primarily, you have to allow spores to fall from the gills under the cap of a grown mushroom unto a sheet of paper, tin foil, or glass.
The method below is suitable for spores from gilled mushrooms and mushrooms with pores.
- A mushroom fruiting body
- A paper, tin foil, or glass
- A glass or a bowl to cover the mushroom cap
- A Ziploc bag to store it
Step 1: Choose a mushroom
Spores are not produced from mushrooms until they are near the end of their life cycle. So, choose a mature mushroom.
Young mushrooms usually have a veil covering their gills which protects them. So, no spore will likely fall if you take a spore print of these young mushrooms.
Step 2: Remove the cap
Removing the cap of the mushroom from the stem makes spore printing easier. Remove the cap at the highest possible point. When using a shelf or oyster-type mushroom, you may use the whole thing to make the spore print.
Step 3: Place the cap down
Place the mushroom cap with the gills upside down unto a piece of paper. A sheet of white paper works well for most species.
Although, some mushrooms have white spores. So, you could use black paper for this instead.
It is advisable to make the print on tinfoil if you plan to nurture mushrooms from spores. Tinfoil can be wiped with alcohol, and it is better for making spore syringes and scraping spores onto agar plates.
Step 4: Cover with glass and wait.
The spores should fall directly from the mushroom cap onto the paper. To achieve this, cover the cap with a glass or small bowl to prevent air from blowing away the spores.
Remove the cap after 6 to 12 hours. You will find a newly formed mushroom spore print now.
Store the prints by folding them over a piece of paper or tin foil and placing it in a Ziploc bag.
Store prints can be stored anywhere at room temperature and can last for a very long time.
MUSHROOM SPORE PRINTS FOR IDENTIFICATION
The color of a spore print can identify species of mushrooms.
Spore color can be used to do a lot more than just identify a species for consumption. Spore color may not always give a defined identity of species.
People see and read colors sometimes differently. So, you should have different ways to identify a species.
Here are some examples of other mushrooms and their spore colors;
- Oyster mushroom- usually white
- Button mushroom ( Agaricus species)- often brown
- Reishi - Brown
- Shaggy Mane( Coprinus) - Black
- Amanita species( Death cap, Fly Agaric)- usually white
- Emoji( Flamulina Velutipes) - White
- Psilocybe species- Dark purple or black
You can not see the spores with the naked eye aside from the color. Spore is usually identified by the use of a microscope.
The microscope could be pretty tricky to access. So, it is not usually used for the casual identification of spores.
WHY YOU SHOULD CHECK THE COLOR OF SPORES
A commonly poisonous mushroom in North America is Chlorophyllum molybdites, also known as 'green spored lepiota.'
It causes severe gastrointestinal disturbances when ingested. It usually does not kill. This mushroom could be mistaken for Shaggy Parasol or the Shaggy Mane. However, the main distinction is that Chlorophyllum molybdites have green spored.
This shows the importance of identifying spore color.
SPORE PRINTS FOR GROWING MUSHROOMS
Although growing mushrooms from spores are not advisable, it can be fun. It is much better to start with a proven strain.
Extra steps should ensure the working area is clean when using a print for cultivation purposes. The spore print could be done in a clear tote wiped down with alcohol. The mushroom cap could be wiped with isopropyl alcohol to reduce the risk of contamination.
Spore print for cultivation purposes should be done on tin foil.
The standard method is scraping off the spores from the print into a nitrified agar media. The vegetative part can then be transferred into sterilized grain to spawn after it develops.
You may also use a spore syringe by mixing spores with sterilized water and taking it up with a needle. This works well if the spore print was made on tin foil. The syringe and water can then be sterilized. After, transfer the spores to a sterilized jar. Then, inject the water, mix it with the needle, and take the spore solution back into the syringe for storage.
This solution can be used again to inoculate sterilized grain or injected into the substrate directly.
Note that ' multiple spore' syringes usually have mixed results.
MAKING A SPORE SLURRY
Some species could not be cultivated commercially; they could only grow wild.
But, the growth of these mushrooms could be enhanced by inoculating a suitable area with a spore slurry.
This is done by transferring spores from a spore print into a bucket filled with fresh water without chlorine. Then, add some sugar and a bit of salt.
If the mushroom fruiting body is available, you could cut it and add it to the bucket.
The sugar provides nutrition to encourage the vegetative cells to grow, and the salt reduces bacterial growth.
Once you add the spore, allow the bucket to sit for one or two days and then pour it outside in an appropriate area.
Have a good knowledge of the species you are growing, and make sure you pour the slurry in a suitable place.
Some species like Chanterelles need to grow in symbiosis with other trees. Pouring their slurry on your lawn would not yield any result.
HAVE MORE FUN WITH SPORE PRINTS
Spore prints could be used to make art because they are beautiful. Some people could take the spore print and cover them with hairspray to preserve and display them.
This article's statements are 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 kind of health issue.
NootroFx is a Canadian brand based in Vancouver, Canada. At NootroFx, we believe in quality. That's why we try our best to offer our customers nothing but quality. For all your Mushroom needs, you can shop your product from us. Our products include Mushroom supplements, Mushroom chais, mushroom water, mushroom gummy bear Vitamins, and we also sell mushroom teas. For your premium quality product, you will want to shop with us at NootroxFx.