An amazing property of mushroom mycelium is its ability to live and develop in a liquid nutrient medium. This opens up new and interesting perspectives for the cultivation of edible and exotic mushrooms and will make you feel like real mycologists, not amateurs.
The good news is that you don’t need a degree to successfully grow or make your own mushroom liquid culture and turn that culture into mycelia that will eventually produce bountiful yields.
If you’re intrigued, be sure to read on. By the end of this guide, you will be ready to start. And we’ll even tell you where to buy the starter kit!
Table of Contents
What is Mushroom Liquid Culture?
A nutrient medium is a sterile mixture of water and one or more specific sugars. The purpose of this nutrient mixture is to create conditions for the development of mycelium after infection with fungal spores. In other words, a liquid culture of mushrooms is a floating mycelium in a nutrient broth.
Liquid culture greatly facilitates the inoculation of substrates. Once the spores have developed in the nutrient broth, this mycelium-rich mixture can be inoculated into your substrate or kept as seed of your choice.
Mushroom liquid culture pros and cons
What are the benefits of using Mushroom Liquid Culture?
- Simple storage conditions, room temperature.
- Minimal risk of contamination with contaminants.
- Constant development of mycelium in a nutrient medium. Large ready volume of seed.
- Faster result, the cultivator does not have to wait for spores to germinate, which reduces the incubation time by at least a week.
- The use of liquid culture reduces the incubation time on the substrate.
What are the disadvantages of using Mushroom Liquid Culture?
- Technology for more advanced cultivators, above the entry level.
- Sterility of the culture medium is critical.
- The impossibility of determining contamination before incubation on the substrate.
how to make mushroom liquid culture recipe using malt extract?
If you want to learn how to make a liquid culture, check out this recipe. This recipe is suitable for all types of mushrooms.
What you will need to make mushroom liquid culture:
- Sealed container.
- Syringe for 10-20 ml.
- Large diameter needles 2 pcs.
- High purity water.
- One of the following sugars to mix with water: honey, corn syrup, corn sugar, pale malt extract, dextrose (glucose).
We use fermented rye malt.
- Cotton swabs, disks.
- Pressure cooker for sterilization.
Empirically, it was found that the optimal ratio of malt to water is 1/100.
1 gram of fermented rye malt per 100 grams of water.
best mushroom liquid culture recipe using malt extract
step-by-step guide to preparing Mushroom Liquid Culture:
1. As the container we need, we will use a bottle of medical saline. It is hermetically sealed with a rubber stopper which is fixed with a metal cap. This stopper prevents air from entering and will not open in the pressure cooker during sterilization. It is also convenient because the rubber does not leave open holes from the needle.
2. Next, we tear off the metal seal and pierce the rubber cover with two needles. One of them is for air circulation. We insert the syringe into the second and pump out all the saline with it. After that, using the same syringe, pour clean water into the bottle, about 20 ml. Slightly shake the bottle and choose the water again. We do this several times. Thus, we clean the bottle of saline, which is salt water (sodium chloride).
3. The container for the nutrient medium is ready. Now let’s start making the nutrient medium itself. To do this, pour 100 ml of highly purified water into a glass or jar and add 1 gram of rye malt. Thoroughly mix the solution and filter it several times through a cotton pad. To be sure, you can make a cotton cannula on the needle and select the solution through it.
After that, pour the finished solution into a sealed bottle using a syringe.
4. Sterilization. We cover the bottle cap with aluminum foil, place our solution in a pressure cooker and sterilize it for 15-20 minutes at a temperature of 120C at a pressure of 2 atmospheres. This is usually the maximum that a household pressure cooker produces. The temperature of the autoclave can be adjusted. Longer sterilization and high temperature lead to the caramelization of sugars included in the nutrient medium. Such a solution becomes unsuitable for the development of mycelium.
Be sure to let the pressure cooker cool down before opening it!
Cooling is better to let it happen naturally. If you cool the pressure cooker abruptly, the jar may burst from pressure and temperature differences.
5 . Inoculation. After the pressure cooker has completely cooled down, you can inoculate (inoculate) the fungus spore culture into your sterile nutrient solution.
To do this, you need a spore suspension and an alcohol swab.
Wipe the rubber cap with a swab and gently pierce it with the syringe needle. Inject the spore suspension into the bottle and abruptly pull the needle out of the cap.
6. Now we need to put our nutrient medium in a warm place (25-28C) for mycelium incubation. After 4-5 days, you will see cellular seals similar to mucus or “jellyfish”. This is the liquid culture of mushrooms, liquid mycelium.
From this point on, it is recommended to stir the mycelium daily in a circular motion so that it is saturated with oxygen.
Every day there will be more and more mycelium and soon you will be able to sample it with a syringe to inoculate your grains and other substrates.
7. Storage. Liquid cultures can be stored in the refrigerator for 6-8 months (or longer) at 3-5°C.
But if you have neither the time nor the opportunity to prepare a liquid culture of mushrooms yourself, we offer you a ready-made solution on this page of our store.