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Bulk substrate hydration ratios - is measurement useful?

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#1 raymycoto



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Posted 05 December 2018 - 02:46 PM

Fungi can be quite finicky and that sometimes "you never know" why something went wrong, or equally as common, why something went right.


I try and measure things and control things that I can to eliminate variables. Measurement is also good for reproducing things that worked and when there is guesswork then I can just use a recipe. So I like being able to create an 'exact' spawn hydration ratio, for example. I just mixed some substrate for the first time in a while and realized I didn't really have an exact recipe so I mixed up what seemed to be a 'field capacity' sub with cow poo and straw. With the most effort I can almost squeeze a drop out of a handful after fiddling around with a big bucket of the stuff for over half an hour.


My sub, pre and post sterilization




So I'm thinking I could measure the hydration ratio and, assuming this is a good sub, reproduce this with exact weight of poop, straw and water. I realize that initial hydration of the ingredients figures into the formula but I decided to measure the sub hydration in the usual manner by drying some in the oven.


grain hydration.jpg


I found my sub was 67% water weight = 100 x water / (weight_of_hydrated_sub) and I guess this makes sense because sub appears wetter than spawn, which is not supposed to look wet.


By comparison, for ex, spawn grain hydration range is recommend at 42% to 62% depending on the container size.


So I should be able to reproduce it more quickly now without fiddling around and wondering if the straw is finished soaking up water or if I'm squeezing hard enough to measure the water or wondering what to add more of if I add too much water. If it works out or not I'll try again and post some formulas.







Edited by coorsmikey, 05 December 2018 - 05:06 PM.

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#2 Billcoz



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Posted 05 December 2018 - 04:58 PM

Nice job! Do you flame the spoon your using to mix the sub?

#3 PJammer24


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Posted 05 December 2018 - 05:50 PM

I have never been exact with my subs... I eyeball everything.... As far as moisture content, I have found that if I let it sit for several hours to cool, the water retained after sitting for a few hours post cool down is field capacity... The excess water is going to drain off and as long as you don't let it sit for an extraordinary amount of time, letting the moisture evaporate, the moisture content should be right....


When I have pasteurized on a stove top, that meant letting it hang/sit over night... When I have steamed pasteurized, I have left it in the pasteurizer to cool, gone to work, and used it when I got back... I think you can have success without measuring in this phase.

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#4 HooKworm



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Posted 05 December 2018 - 08:54 PM

For me , measurements are everything. I do all my prep , inoculation , incubation , record keeping , and so on in my lab at work. I treat my grows as I would treat the samples and tests I run. It’s overkill , but to me it allows me , through repetition , to perfect (as well as I can) each method I use. You don’t have to be exact but it helped me learn better protocols. Measuring is a control method that decreases variables. Then you can look back and say to yourself ,”I just did that naked.”

#5 PJammer24


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Posted 06 December 2018 - 09:14 AM

Don't get me wrong, there are somethings I most definitely measure, my substrate just isn't one of them... 

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