It seems to produce sclerotia right off the bat in the petri dish, so lumpy stuff under the mycellium that is a sort of caramel brown color is what that is.
The stuff that I've been working with is a clone from a fruit. But it has been producing sclerotia just fine.
If you think about it, the genetic tissue from the stones would be the same as obtained from the fruits, given that this is already a culture from a clone.
It seems to me that the natural life cycle of a sclerotia producing mushroom is to both produce sclerotia as well as fruitbodies with spores. Keeping a clone of yourself hidden in the cellar is no way to spread your genes, or contribute to your species' gene pool, but it is a good backup incase you get plowed by a truck or eaten by a slug, and that's basically what sclerotia is. So maybe the sclerotia is a way of coming back the next year, like a perennial? This would also explain the contam resistance, as the mushroom would need to develop such a trait to survive year to year, rather than relying on spore distribution to regenerate.
Sorry for the tangent, what was the question again? Oh yeah culturing route...
The sclerotia producing mushrooms are pretty uncommon in the hobby cultivation. Questions such as yours are certainly worth experimenting around. Starting with multispore, you could try and isolate some mycellium in successive plates, then grow the various isolates out on some grain and then spawn to trays and fruit. Or harvest the stones first. There's a question.
- Does leaving the sclerotia in with the spawn influence fruiting activity for heavier flushes? Or does removing the spawn have that effect?
- Another question sclerotia growers ponder is what influences stone production? A hard, non-nutritive surface? So then does putting pieces of plastic or glass into the spawn cause the formation of additional sclerotia?