Working With Mushroom Cultures On Agar

Working With Mushroom Cultures On Agar

To store and produce mushroom cultures using mycelium on nutrient-rich agar is needed to start growing mushrooms.

You must transfer cultures for the excellent mushroom growth of different species to make grain spawn. You must also know how to decontaminate contaminated cultures. These are vital skills you need as a good mushroom cultivator.

Agar is required if you want to store your cultures for a long time and prepare multiple copies of mushroom culture.

STARTING WITH STERILIZED AGAR PLATES

It would help if you had the appropriate agar plates to transport and store mushroom cultures on agar. The simple method to prepare one is to concoct a nutrient-rich agar solution, pressure sterilize it, and then drop the concoction onto sterile dishes in a clean environment.

The famous agar formula is Malt Extract Agar to cultivate mushroom cultures. It's essential to know how to prepare the right concoction.

CULTURE SLANTS

To store your mushroom cultures for a long time, you can use test tubes instead of Petri dishes. The method is called "culture slants." Though the same principle process is used. Pure mycelium is still placed on nutrient-rich agar and enabled to grow. Test tubes only allow the agar to be thickened at an angle to allow more surface area inside the tube. It has had a viable mushroom culture for a long time.

TRANSFERRING CULTURES ON AGAR

THINGS YOU’LL NEED

  • Appropriately Prepared Nutrient-Rich Agar Plates
  • A scalpel knife
  • A source of flame or an alcohol burner to sterilize your blade
  • A clean environment such as a laminar flow hood, still Air Box, etc.
  • Parafilm or masking tape
  • A viable mushroom culture on a petri dish, culture slant, or even a syringe

STEPS FOR TRANSFERRING CULTURES

1. CLEAN UP

Use alcohol to clean the outside of the dishes or slants. Clean your hands, scalpel, and all other tools. You can wear nitrile gloves and a surgical mask to avoid contaminating your fresh plate.

2. SET UP THE DISHES

Use the parafilm or masking tape you have. Put the dishes side by side in front of the flow hood. The opposite side of your working hand is the perfect place to set the new plate.

3. FLAME STERILIZE SCALPEL

Disinfect your scalpel blade using a flame source or an alcohol burner until the blade is glowing red hot. Do this for every transfer to avoid contamination at all costs. A ¾ full rubbing alcohol shot glass can also be used. Just don't let the shot glass tip over while it is burning!

4. COOL THE BLADE

Dip the red hot tip of the blade to the agar on the adopting dish to cool it off. You will hear a sizzling sound. Don't allow the lid to be opened for a long time, and be gentle and careful while you do this to avoid contamination of any kind.

 5. REMOVE A PIECE OF MYCELIUM

Use your cooled blade to open the lid of the culture-containing dish. Use it to also cut a small piece of agar containing mycelium out of the dish. It would help if you had a 1 cm x 1 cm piece. Quickly transfer the cut piece to the receiving dish, placing it in the middle. It must be placed steadily in the laminar flow, particularly upstream of the plates.

6. SEAL THE EDGE OF THE PLATE

Use your parafilm to seal the verge of the fresh plate. In the absence of parafilm, you can invariably use masking tape. Label the fresh culture dishes with the different species and dates and transfer them to a clean, room-temperature environment. Reiterate the procedure to get more plates.

HOW TO TRANSFER FROM CULTURE SLANTS

Ensure that the slant is aligned with the flow of the hood. Its open end faces far upstream. It is difficult to get a 1 cm x 1 cm piece from a culture slant, so cut into it and take hold of what you can. Seal the slant back to multiply and store the mycelium for the long term.

TRANSFERRING FROM LIQUID CULTURE IN A SYRINGE

Another form of culture is available in the liquid culture syringe and is available commercially. You create a grain spawn by inoculating agar plates with a liquid syringe. And such cultures can be kept for the long term.

Clean the syringe tip first using flame till it is red hot. Rapidly and cautiously open the middle of the receiving dish. The tip of the syringe will be cooled by the first bit of liquid coming out. Keep on cleaning the tip of the syringe between every plate you plan to prepare.

Be careful to steady the liquid culture in the plates so that it doesn't move to the side we do not want it to be. Depending on the culture, they should be ready in 7-10 days for long-term storage or transfer to another plate.

STORING AND USING CULTURES LONG TERM

You can store cultures for a long time or use them several times to grow mushrooms. You can transfer them to new plates to prevent the mycelium from running out. So, you can grow the plate and create more plates from it to generate unlimited viable genetic copies you can store to grow mushrooms.

A mycelium-covered plate has the potential to create about 10,000 plates as you can make 8-10 or more plates from them and inoculate them to make about 10,000 plates or more from one original!

Each transfer reduces the potential productivity of the culture or may lead to a genetic mutation. The culture takes another step away from the original and eventually stops growing or develops a genetic mutation with every transfer. The label on your lid the number of transfers you have done so that you know.

When you want to store or use the culture, ensure the mycelium does not reach the top or edge of the plate; if not, it will grow through the parafilm, which may cause contamination.

You can save most cultures in the refrigerator for a long time. In a refrigerator, they will stop growing but still be viable for a long time. Ensure you check the viability and grow them as often as possible. Also, check and learn how to store different species well to store them right.

CONCLUSION

If you learn this vital skill, it will help you improve your culture library. You will be able to create grain spawn from scratch, store cultures for a different species and only use them when required, being able to purify a contaminated culture, or even the ability to obtain new strains from the wild.

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