Without sounding too cynical, trusting people is tricky game. The same goes for mushrooms, when you buy culture, spores or spawn, you assume for the most part that the culture has been prepared under sterile and healthy conditions and any contamination you receive will be from your working practices.
This isn’t the case. I’ve been growing mushrooms for a few months now, experimenting with substrates, agar and all manner of methods. Nearly all of the contaminations I have had have been a result of my mal-practice. I rectified those practices and no longer run into those issues. This isn’t to say that I won’t or don’t mess up but is to say that I am learning from my mistakes.
A week or so ago, I wrote a blog about how I made and inoculated my wilko jars. Under sterile conditions, I cooked my grains for 90 minutes in the pressure cooker. I then took the jars out of the PC and let them cooled before cleaning them and putting them in front of a HEPA filter. Following that, I sterilised the needle with heat, opened the jars, dropped in ¼ of the syringe, squirted alcohol around the rim and closed the lid tight letting them colonise.
I’ve done this dozens of times and never had an entire batch fail like this. After incubating them for a few days, it looked like the LM was chugging along nicely. A few days later I started to see some green.
After seeing the green, which I was sure that it was some kind of Trichoderma contamination, I posted pictures on some Facebook groups to get a group consensus. It was mostly what I suspected. The feedback from the company UKMUSHROOMSUPPLIES was mostly positive, but given the potential risk in any sterile operation, it falls within the realms of good practice to test your culture on agar. They were/are kind enough to send an immediate replacement syringe out which I will, of course, be testing on agar before inoculating the bulk of my spawn with it.
However, having said that, I was slightly disappointed that this happened, not for me. But for anyone who is just starting to grow mushrooms, they could see the results and be completely discouraged by them. I urge you, If you are a LC/Spawn supplier to regularly test your spawn for quality control. It may seem like a pain, but doing that will save you a lot more money/pain in the long run. So, be diligent, test your spawn.
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