Liquid culture is the easiest and most efficient way to grow mushrooms at home, and this article will give you all of the knowledge required to get started in this exciting hobby.
As the first step of this process, sterilizing the jars must first take place. This can be accomplished by placing them in a pressure cooker set at 15psi for 30-40mins until they become thoroughly clean.
Liquid cultures make mushroom cultivation simpler and more rewarding for people without the time or space to do it from scratch. Liquid cultures allow mushroom growers to cultivate mycelium in an ideal growing medium that will eventually yield abundant yields when introduced into grain or compost.
Most liquid culture recipes use a mixture of water and one or more specific sugars, which must then be sterilized before inoculating it with mushroom spores and grown mycelium for inoculating substrates or for storage as living mushroom cultivation.
To create a jar of liquid culture, you will require basic kitchen supplies like a pan and lid; Mason jars are often recommended, as their lids feature modified features such as filter patches for air exchange and reusable injection ports. Isopropyl alcohol will also be necessary to sterilize tools, surfaces and syringes before beginning this project. A magnetic stir plate may help stir your liquid culture for oxygenation purposes or you could simply twist the jar by hand.
Before creating a liquid culture, first clean and disinfect all equipment such as the jar, lid, stirrer, aluminium foil cover for your jar to protect it from contaminants, as well as dark and quiet location to store your jar in. Stir your liquid daily ideally using magnetic stir plate; however a marble or two will do.
Liquid cultures are an invaluable asset to mushroom growers of all levels. Mushroom mycelium thrives in liquid nutrient media, opening up new avenues for cultivation. Liquid cultures can be used to inoculate PF jars or grain for spawn production and can even recolonize old spawn bags if necessary. Regular swap-out of liquid culture media should help prevent strain senescence and maintain robust mycelial growth.
Liquid culture or “LC”, as it’s commonly known, involves suspending mycelium in a nutrient solution and is the preferred way to transfer mycelium between environments. One advantage over transferring with agar wedges is reduced contamination as mycelium “breathes” through its host solution rather than being dropped into new environments directly. Contamination may still exist however due to mycelium not growing on an even horizontal plane like agar does; agitation must still take place every day to help maintain cloudiness throughout its host solution, either using magnetic stirrers, bottom bolts in jars or hand swirling.
Assuring your work environment and hands are clean is also necessary before handling jars, with some rubbing alcohol being ideal for this step. A syringe and needle can be purchased in the “Add a Note to your Order at Checkout option, below Item Summary”) to inject substrate. These come packaged sterile for safe use.
Once your mushroom culture is established in a jar, it should be maintained at temperatures between 18-20c (64-68f) and stirred daily – this helps the mycelium avoid becoming too clumped together, spreading throughout the liquid more easily and keeping contamination to a minimum. A stir plate or manual stirring are both excellent ways to accomplish this task; when working with liquid cultures it’s imperative that both workspace and equipment remain as sterile as possible to protect both from unnecessary strains of contamination.
Use isopropyl alcohol to clean your tools and equipment, along with alcohol cleaning wipes. Before using an injection needle it’s crucial to sterilize it by heating it until its red glow appears and removing its protective plastic cover.
Once familiar with this method, it’s possible to turn an LC syringe into an endless supply of mycelium; just be mindful of senescence (and use a master jar). Liquid culture also grows faster than spores.