Cheerios for a substrate? That's surreal!
(sorry, can't help it sometimes)
In all seriousness, using a processed commercial product is pretty smart and probably saves huge sums of money (at least during he R&D phase) by ensuring a homogeneous substrate necessary for producing the desired compounds for their experiments but it'll be interesting to see how they would go about producing commercial quantities/scaling it up.
And this part of the article sure caught my attention:
The idea to put the Cheerios in a bag instead of a flask came in 2011, when Cichewicz stumbled upon a how-to blog for growing psychedelic mushrooms. Those growers use big, breathable plastic bags called mushroom bags. One 50-cent bag, Cichewicz calculated, would provide the same growing surface area as 18 Erlenmeyer flasks. That would cut back on graduate student hours spent washing glassware, he thought. When his team took one promising fungus, Bionectria ochroleuca, and compared its growth on Cheerios in flasks versus in mushroom bags, they found that the species produced a similar metabolite profile under both conditions.
2011? That just goes to show that we need to facilitate better interdisciplinary communication among researchers as the volume of scientific data and information in the world continues to grow far beyond the level that any one person could possibly grasp. That leads to increasing redundancy and inefficiency as various research projects end up reinventing countless wheels that have already been perfected by researchers from other disciplines just because they didn't know about them. I expect this will get worse as the volume of information available continues to rise exponentially.
Or at least that's the only explanation I can think of for why a professional research scientist developing cutting-edge myco-technology had not heard of spawn bags until 2011, and then only from a site dedicated to Psilocybes (which might have been this one). Might be time to develop specialized scientific Journals dedicated to fostering the interdisciplinary applicability of published peer-reviewed research so as to get around the problem of each discipline having it's own arcane, jargon-infested Journal that is often incomprehensible (more or less) to scientists from other fields.
The current approach will lead to science becoming a beast with many heads where one doesn't know what the others are up to, resulting in a lot of time and money being wasted covering the same ground over and over (which already seems to have begun). The scientific community should probably also try to adopt more flexibility in how it defines specific fields of study so it can more quickly adopt new discoveries that might change the nature of the boundaries between disciplines or possibly spawn entirely new fields, like how developments in Quantum physics are relevant to neurology (which could spawn a new field we might call Quantum Neurology).