We started constructing our mushroom farm last November 2017 and started the actual farming process last January. 2018 We had a lot of difficulty because of some simple mistakes can lead to getting the spawns contaminated.
I hope that reading this will help mushroom farmers to at least minimize contamination.
Spawning – We used the grain to grain spawning technique since its easier and less labor intensive
- Make sure the spawns used for spawning are not contaminated
- Since we are beginners, we didn’t notice that the spawns we are using are already too old. So how do we know if spawns are still good to use?
Strains with slowly growing mycelium have the longest shelf-life. In order of appearance, the signs of the ageing process are:
- the mycelium becomes more compact
- formation of skins, crusts and lumps
- production of colored fluid with an unpleasant odor
- autolysis of the mycelium and disintegration of the spawn.
In stages (1) and (2) the mycelium is perfectly useable, although it is less crumbly than totally fresh spawn. Since the autolysis (=self-destruction) of the cells begins at the end of stage (3), it is recommended to use the mycelium before that time. In stage (4) the mycelium is dying and should be eliminated.
So if you see that yellow fluid forming. Discard your spawns!
2. Use Good grains
We found out that using old grains can increase contamination even after washing and sterilizing them. This is because mushrooms are not the only fungi that feeds on decaying object. There are also other fungi and bacterias that loves decaying matter. So in buying the grains keep into account to use the fresher ones.
3. Proper boiling of grains
Over boiling cooks the grains and makes it attractive to other bacterias that can easily compete with your mushroom mycelium. This is the normal mistakes that takes place in grain to grain spawning.
When heating your grains before sterilization, Make sure to turn off cooking range when the water begins boiling.
4. Proper Moisture before Sterilization
Before putting the grains in their respective bottles, be sure that it is not wet. Proper moisture should be observed, you can do this by holding the grain in your hand – there should be no water dripping and your hand should not become wet.
5. Proper sterilization of the Grains
Ideal temperature for sterilization is 15psi or 121 Celsius. Make sure that proper temperature is met and remember that the timer starts when the desired temp has achieved and not upon turning on the stove
6. Drain the Remaining moisture after Sterilization
Make sure to put your bottles upside down after sterilization to let the remaining moisture flow. Do this until the bottles cools off for ready for grain to grain spawning.
7. Make sure to observe utmost Cleanliness during grain to grain spawning
Alcoholize your hand every now and then. Wear Mask when doing the procedure and make sure to have a heated lamp at all times. This will reduce the contaminants present in the air and in your body.
In addition, make sure to heat the mouth of your mother spawn bottle and your grain bottle before every grain to grain transfer procedure.
If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a message or comment on this blog 🙂
The below are our successful products from grain to grain spawning.