The first installment will be the choice of the agar and the recipe's1Why agar?
The primary purpose behind the decision to begin working with agar at this time is to allow for “cleaning up” spore prints obtained from various sources including those made from mushroom specimens gathered in the wild by attempting to germinate those spores and then isolate clean mycelium from contaminates. This is of course not the only reason one might wish to use this medium for culturing mycelium but you have to start somewhere. In the future the skills gained here will be applied to other tasks such as the cloning of tissue removed from fruiting bodies of mushrooms which possess specific desirable traits, refinement of strains of mycelium, selective breeding, and so forth.
Reflecting on that it seemed that in so doing little more would be accomplished than a clean multi-spore inoculation, which in itself is an accomplishment but somehow seemed a bit shallow, and so it was also decided that the trait of vigorous rhizomorphic growth would also be selectively targeted as well making the goals of this initial work:
- To germinate spores of targeted mushroom species, grow mycelium from those spores, and isolate the mycelium from contaminates as best as possible
- To refine the isolated mycelium to a strain possessing vigorous rhizomorphic growth characteristic
This of course was not decided randomly but based upon reading, examples of others work, and suggestions from many sources including observations of the results of mycelium which possess this particular characteristic, specifically at the fruiting stage of its lifecycle. But, since nothing is guaranteed to wind up with desirable end results it sure can’t hurt to attempt to condition the outcome as best as possible. Simply stated we are looking for a mycelium that will vigorously produce fruiting bodies; i.e. mushrooms. 1.1Which agar?
After considerable research and study of the various kinds of agar mixtures used to grow mycelium it was decided to try and keep things as absolutely simple as possible. (Note: remembering and building on lessons learned from past experience and applying the KISS principal) So the idea is to apply previous knowledge to the new experiment while not just simply following someone else’s recipe blindly. The agar would be mixed to accomplish its mission as stated in the goals. The goals are fairly simple so we need a food source for the mycelium and a medium in which to suspend those nutrients.
Considering that many people recommend a brown rice flower PF TEK for entry level mushroom growing and having followed that advice successfully it was decided that brown rice flower would likely be an excellent nutrient component for this first agar mix.
Many recipes and techniques were read through and considered and finally the absolute bear minimum of components seemed to make the most sense for this first attempt.
Two species of mushrooms are being grown in this initial project. One of them is generally a dung loving species and the other is a wood loving species. Precedence and past experience has shown that both of these will germinate and grow on grains to develop and expand spawn, which can then be used to spawn to the targeted fruiting substrates. 1.1.1 BRFA (Brown Rice Flower Agar)
A very simple nutrient agar recipe was modified accordingly and the following recipe derived. Note this nutrient agar will be used to grow and develop the dung loving species.
40g powdered organic brown rice flour
9.5g powdered agar
500ml distilled water 1.1.2 HWBRFA (Hardwood Brown Rice Flower Agar)
The same recipe as above will serve as the medium for the wood loving species as well but slightly modified. The wood chips that will serve as the fruiting substrate were sampled and a tea created by simmering 2 cups of sun dried wood chips in 750 ml of distilled water for 90 minutes which resulted in a dark wood smelling tea. This was strained using a small funnel and coffee filters and returned to the pot for a slight reducing to the required 500ml.
40g powdered organic brown rice flower
9.5g powdered agar
500ml Hardwood tea
Next the preparation method and then pouring lava in a flow hood while remaining sterile (this will definitely be refined but I will record what was done here)
note:experience teaches like no other thing