MYCELIATED GRAIN TEK
It has been found that the mycelium of certain species of potent psilocybin-bearing mushrooms of the genus Psilocybe also produces considerable quantities of active material when cultivated on sterilized, edible grain media (or “grain-spawn”). The grain-spawn is inoculated and incubated in glass canning jars or polyurethane bags specially designed to tolerate sterilization temperatures. The resulting myceliated grain is then dehydrated and easily preserved long-term if properly stored. The whole dried kernels may be simmered in water to create a potent tea, or ground to create an easily digestible flour (depending on the particular grain used). The two species known with certainty to produce active compounds in sufficient quantity are Psilocybe caerulescens, and Psilocybe hoogshagenii/semperviva, though it's likely that many others may be found to be equally effective once further research has been conducted. Ps. zapotecorum and Ps. mexicana are worthy candidates for experimentation.
This method negates the need to fruit mushrooms, which can be costly, time-consuming and generally unfavorable to those without sufficient motivation or patience, particularly in the case of the lesser-known and temperamental psilocybin mushrooms such as Ps. caerulescens. The process is considerably simpler, less time consuming, and more discrete than fruiting mushrooms. It requires minimal equipment or expensive tools, and results in very high-quality material with little waste or environmental impact. Production requires little space, is easily scaled to suit the specific needs of the cultivator, and the quantity of inoculated material does not change the incubation time required for maximum potency. There is no need for a fruiting apparatus or incubator, and a flow-hood or glove-box is not required when a sterile liquid culture syringe is employed skillfully using filter lids fitted with self-healing injection ports. The creation of these lids requires a moderate level of patience and competency, but with tools readily obtained online or from a typical hardware store, dozens of durable, reusable lids may be created in a single afternoon. The lids are fastened on regular-mouthed or wide-mouthed glass canning jars, which serve as the final incubation vessels. Wide-mouthed jars are preferred for performing grain-to-grain inoculations. Once the grain has been inoculated, there is no need for further maintenance such as misting and fanning, so the grain jars or bags may be left unattended for extended periods of time without risk of failure.
The substrate (hydrated grain) must be sterilized to ensure that competitor fungi and bacteria are eliminated before inoculating with the desired fungi. A pressure-cooker/canner capable of reaching temperatures necessary for rapid full sterilization will greatly ease the process and virtually eliminate the possibility of contamination when pure starting media is used, and when aseptic technique is followed correctly. However, sterilization by means of a pressure-canner is not required. Alternatively, a somewhat more tedious but sufficiently effective process called “fractional sterilization” or “Tyndallization” may be employed. This involves the staged immersion of jars in boiling water/steam in intervals over the course of three days. All that is required for this sterilization technique is a large pot with a well-fitting lid.
Pure starting media is of critical importance for this method, as any contamination present in the master inoculant will be transmitted to the media that will ultimately be consumed. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to detect contamination on grain-spawn. Foul-smelling jars, or grain with visible signs of mold or bacteria should be discarded. Only grain with visibly healthy white mycelium and a typically “mushroomy” smell should be used, and only in the complete absence of doubt.
The three most common starting media are spore-prints (mushroom spores stored in a tin-foil envelope), liquid culture (mycelium suspended in liquid nutrient media stored in a sterile syringe), and agar culture (mycelium grown on seaweed gelatin and stored in a petri dish, sterile test-tube or plastic baggie). Liquid culture syringes are preferred for this TEK as they can be expanded without the need for a sterile environment (such as a flow-hood or glove-box). Filter lids with self-healing injection-ports permit the application of liquid culture in open air. Spores on the other hand must be transferred and “cleaned” on sterile agar media, which can only be performed in a sterile environment. Likewise, agar cultures can only be expanded (to agar or liquid culture) in sterile conditions. In this tutorial, various modes of preparing nutrient media will be described in detail.
It is warranted that at least a glove-box be created or obtained in order to permit the long-term storage and preservation of these rare and valuable species of fungi. Due to the legality and discrete nature of spore-prints, they will undoubtedly be the most common and sustainable mode of transferring the genetics through the mail (though a method for sending agar culture via standard lettermail will be described at the end of this manual). In order to sustain the demand for these rare fungi species, it will be necessary to fruit the mushrooms and obtain spore prints, therefore learning to cultivate the mushrooms themselves is strongly encouraged by the writers of this TEK. Ps. hoogshagenii/semperviva is quite simple to cultivate, and provides mushrooms of unparalleled quality.
Some useful links with information regarding the cultivation of Ps. hoogshagenii/semperviva are included on the last page of the attached manual.
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