Transferring agar from plate to plate is straight forward. Take a sterile blade, cut out the area you want and transfer it to another plate. This can be done for a multitude of reasons but the most common is expanding a culture to inoculate, sell, share, or store.  This method is fast and reliable. I usually use a scalpel, however, since I am going to be selling cultures soon it seemed like a good idea to make them look pretty.

DIY Biopsy Punch | DIY Agar Transfer Tool | DIY Agar Punch Tool | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Blogs | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Tips | Mushroom Business

On the Facebook group ‘Agar of Asgard’ some of the culture photos are incredible. This is often more to do with the species grown than the transfer method. However, to attempt to get equal and uniform growth from a single point, starting with a circle isn’t a bad idea.

DIY Biopsy Punch | DIY Agar Transfer Tool | DIY Agar Punch Tool | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Blogs | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Tips | Mushroom Business

Credit: Misty West – Agar of Asgard Admin and seller of Agar blends

I looked around for tools and found various biopsy punches with and without plungers but nothing commercially available for use in mushroom cultivation. Many of the biopsy punches are disposable sterile plastic single use tools. Not made for flame sterilising between different species.  I didn’t look too hard for one, however.

DIY Biopsy Punch | DIY Agar Transfer Tool | DIY Agar Punch Tool | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Blogs | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Tips | Mushroom Business

I came across a dozens of ideas and designs that people have created. Some were simply hollow punches, some straws inside tubes and some more creative ideas. I felt the idea below was the simplest blend of designs and required the least work. I poodled over to Amazon and bought a ‘Tiny Grabber Tool’.

DIY Biopsy Punch | DIY Agar Transfer Tool | DIY Agar Punch Tool | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Blogs | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Tips | Mushroom Business

Once it arrived, I disassembled it into its component pieces.  

DIY Biopsy Punch | DIY Agar Transfer Tool | DIY Agar Punch Tool | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Blogs | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Tips | Mushroom Business

I pulled the grabber end free and bent the fingers back on themselves the same length they protrude using some pliers.

DIY Biopsy Punch | DIY Agar Transfer Tool | DIY Agar Punch Tool | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Blogs | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Tips | Mushroom Business
DIY Biopsy Punch | DIY Agar Transfer Tool | DIY Agar Punch Tool | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Blogs | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Tips | Mushroom Business

I reassembled the tool and it worked as expected. It contains no plastic so it can be easily flamed, baked in the oven or PC’d to sterilise. I may yet modify it so it can take a bigger circle. 

DIY Biopsy Punch | DIY Agar Transfer Tool | DIY Agar Punch Tool | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Blogs | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Tips | Mushroom Business
DIY Biopsy Punch | DIY Agar Transfer Tool | DIY Agar Punch Tool | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Blogs | Mushroom Growing | Mushroom Tips | Mushroom Business

As a side note, I learnt that I should pour my agar much thinner. Live and learn! If you click the link above to buy the tool I’ll get a small affiliate commission to buy beer with! Cheers!

4 thoughts on “DIY Agar Transfer Tool

  1. Elliot says:

    Hey! Firstly thankyou for all the tips you’ve given me with your blog, all has been super helpful as it’s hard to find certain items in the UK. I bought this grabber tool from Amazon and when I flame sterilised it the metal buckled and warped quite severely, meaning that the grabber keeps getting stuck in the chamber now so I’m not sure if it’s a durable enough tool for the job and was wondering if you found the same issues

    • Garf says:

      Hi mate!

      Cheers for the comment. I’ve not found that to be a problem. Is it the same one as in my link? Maybe you can take some photos of it and email me them and i’ll try to help!

      ALl the best,

      Gareth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.