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.
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.
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.
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’.
Once it arrived, I disassembled it into its component pieces.
I pulled the grabber end free and bent the fingers back on themselves the same length they protrude using some pliers.
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.
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!