February 23, 2024

Easy Guide How to Use Liquid Culture

Easy Guide How to Use Liquid Culture

What is a Liquid Culture?

Mushroom liquid cultures are nutrient-rich liquid mixtures which carry mycelium that can then be used to inoculate grain spawn to then grow your mushrooms. Inoculating grain spawn means you are introducing mycelium to a growing medium such as straw, coffee grounds, logs, cardboard, and more.

There are two main methods to begin growing mushrooms: liquid cultures and spore syringes. Liquid cultures have several benefits over spore (kind of like the seeds of a mushroom) syringes. For one, liquid cultures provide faster colonization. The mycelium (basically the roots of the mushroom which absorb water and nutrients) in a liquid culture is already beginning to grow in a nutrient-rich medium so that gives you a head start. Spore syringes do not contain mycelium. They need to germinate before growing so that is just another step.

Not only that, but you may also see higher yields than you would use spore syringes. Efficiency is the name of the game. The sterile and nutrient-rich environment of the liquid culture means that the mycelium can colonize a substrate more efficiently. This can mean higher yields.

Using liquid cultures is also a very controlled and sterile technique which means you will achieve more consistent results. This will save you time, energy, and money in the long run. Speaking of money, liquid cultures can also be more cost-effective due to their consistency when compared to spore syringes. You run a higher risk of contamination when using spore syringes which could cost you more over time if your batch gets contaminated.

Liquid cultures are also quite easy to both store and transport. When stored in the refrigerator, liquid cultures can last up to a year. Spore syringes have a much shorter shelf life. Spore syringes are also more prone to contamination when being stored.

If you are growing mushrooms at home, do yourself a favor and learn how to use liquid culture. You will see faster colonization, higher yields, more consistent results, cost-effectiveness, and ease of storage.

How to Use Liquid Culture

How to Use Liquid Culture by Mycology Men

Materials You Will Need to Learn How to Use Liquid Culture

Successfully using your mushroom liquid culture to inoculate your grain spawn is as easy as creating a clean and sterile environment, injecting the liquid culture, and being patient! There are a few materials you will need. These include: liquid culture, needle for the syringe, flame from a torch, a still air box, gloves, alcohol wipes, and your jar or bag filled with grain spawn. The alcohol wipes and flame are used for sterilization. The still air box is used so that any contaminants in the air do not interfere with inoculation. 

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Use Liquid Culture

  1. To begin, it is of the utmost importance to thoroughly clean your work area inside the still air box. Using alcohol wipes or bleach is the best practice. Wipe down the work surface, the syringe, and your grain container.
  2. Now you can put on your gloves. It is highly suggested that you then wipe down the gloves with alcohol wipes to remove any contaminants.
  3. Shake up your liquid culture so that the mycelium inside evenly disperses.
  4. Open up the liquid culture packaging and attach the needle to the syringe.
  5. To further sterilize the needle, you can put a flame to it. MAKE SURE ALL THE ALCOHOL HAS EVAPORATED BEFORE DOING THIS. Get the needle red hot.
  6. Insert the needle into the injection port of the grain spawn container and depress the plunger to move the mycelium mixture inside the syringe onto the grain spawn surface.
  7. Leave the substrate in an area with temperatures around 67℉.
  8. Stir or mix your grain spawn when it has reached 30% colonization. 
  9. Wait for the grain spawn to fully colonize (between 10-21 days). You will know it is ready when it has turned fully white.

How to Tell if Your Liquid Culture or Grain Spawn is Contaminated

Contamination is an unfortunate, yet not uncommon, occurrence when growing mushrooms. If you know the signs to look out for, you can save yourself a lot of time by not waiting for a doomed grow. Contaminated liquid culture will appear cloudy. Contaminated grain spawn may appear to have a green slime and could have an unpleasant smell. If either of these happen, it is best to start again from the beginning.

Mycology Men
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