Safety Precautions When Handling Laboratory Grade Mushroom Spores
Have you ever questioned where do mushroom spores come from? There is an entire science behind handling laboratory grade mushroom spores, to prevent contamination that will ruin the culture.
The first vital step is to prepare the fungus substrate. Bulk substrates are different when it comes to density, composition, chemical profiles, microbial loads etc. Each substrate contains a certain amount of competing organisms that must be eliminated; otherwise they will attach your mushroom spores, competing for the food.
So, any mushroom laboratory needs a detailed substrate preparation procedure, including protocols for various substrates, and must have proper sterilization equipment (self-contained research-grade laboratory autoclave)
Mushroom spores must be injected into a substrate that has been sterilized. Some mushroom growers also talk about pasteurization instead of sterilization of the substrate, but pasteurization is not so effective, as it only weakens microorganisms.
Research-grade lab autoclaves will sterilize the substrate in 15-45 minutes, depending on volume.
Additional safety precautions include properly venting the autoclaves outside of the building and directly to the sanitary sewer, as operations such as freesteaming or vacuum options produce waste water and steam.
Although some mushroom growers “recycle” the steam, this practice is not recommended, as it might disperse the spores all over your lab.