How To Make Your Own Spore Syringe


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Spore Syringe


Making your own spore syringes is easy if you know how to. In this article we explain how to make your own spore syringes safely and sterilized and how to store them.

WHAT IS A SPORE SYRINGE

A spore syringe is a medical syringe, that has been filled with sterilized water, that contains hydrated spores. They can be used to store your spores for a period of time and to greatly increase the chance of your spores germinating in the substrate you are using to grow your mushroom.

It is also a good way of hydrating the spores you want to use before inoculation into the substrate. Because the spores will most likely be too dry to have chance of germination they need to be hydrated for at least 24 hours.

MAKING A SPORE SPYRINGE

Working sterile

Working sterile is very important when growing mushrooms, because if your cultures get contaminated with the wrong organisms, bacteria or mold, they could spoil and you could lose your colonies. So remember to work as clean as possible. Clean your working area thoroughly and make sure not to have dust or preferably no flying particles at all, that could contaminate your colony. A word of warning though; most disinfectants are alcohol-based and therefore flammable. Keep this in mind when using an open flame to sterilize the pair of tweezers and the scalpel. Use extreme caution when using disinfectants in combination with an open flame.

What you will need:
• An inoculation loop/scalpel, something sterile to pick up the spores
• A pair of tweezers, also sterilized
• A spore print - More spore syringes can be made from one spore print, depending on the size and darkness of the print.
• A syringe and needle, these will need to be sterilized
• A small amount of sterilized water in a bottle
• Some tinfoil, that is cut or ripped to cover the container
• A pressure cooker to sterilize the water in the bottle
• A clean flame source (gas- or alcohol burner or a lighter)
• Latex gloves or hand disinfectant gel
• A face mask, although this is optional

To sterilize the water we are going to use to hydrate the spores and store them in the syringe, we need to cook it in a pressure cooker. The heat will destroy all the contaminations and make sure that we have a contamination-free solution in our spore syringe. Contaminants will start to compete with the mushrooms for food and light and will eventually harm or possibly kill off your colony of mushrooms.

Pressure cooker

Try to find a flask with a narrow opening, because it greatly reduces the chance of contaminations floating into it. Cover the opening of the flask with tin foil and put it in the pressure cooker, on top of the cake rack if it has one. This would also be a good time to already sterilize the syringes you want to fill with spores later on. Wrap the syringes in tin foil and also put them in the pressure cooker. You can even reuse old and used syringes to make new spore syringes by sterilizing them again in this way.

Make sure to close the lid of the pressure cooker properly and let it heat up until it has reached a pressure of 15 PSI. Maintain the pressure of 15 PSI for at least half an hour, then turn off the heat and let it cool off thoroughly. Leave it to cool down for at least 5 hours or let it cool overnight. You have now sterilized the water in the flask, but if the water is still too hot when the spores are introduced they will not survive.

Now it is time to sterilize the scalpel and the pair of tweezers, these could also have contaminants on them so it is better to be safe than sorry later on and lose your colonies. Use a flame, like a lighter or gas burner, to heat the ends and keep heating them in the fire until they are red-hot. Then put them in a stand, making sure that the ends don’t touch anything, to let them cool off for at least 30 seconds until they are safe to be used.

Scalpel and tweezers

With the sterilized tweezers take the spore print out of its bag or container and use the scalpel, that you have also just sterilized in the flame, to scrape the spores off of the paper into the flask with the sterile water. If you can visually confirm, that there are spores in the water, it means that you have scraped off enough. If the water still seems clear, just scrape some more spores off of the paper into the water until the spores start to be visible. As soon as there are enough spores in the water close the flask off again with the tin foil to make sure it stays sterile and uncontaminated.

Now it is time to fill the sterile syringes with spores. Assemble them and suck the spore suspension in. Make sure to refill the syringe and empty them back into the flask a couple of times to make sure the spores are properly dispersed in the water. After a few refills fill the syringe for the final time and put on the needle cap. Repeat this for every syringe you make from the same suspension, especially when making lager numbers of spore syringes.

Spores

When the syringes are filled with the spore suspension, the spores still need some time to hydrate properly, this will greatly aid in germination later on. Leave the spore syringes for at least 24 hours at room temperature before using them to finally inoculate the substrate.

The syringes do not need to be used immediately though, as they can be stored in the refrigerator at 2 to 4 degrees Celsius for up to 6 months. The viability will start to fade after a couple of months, so do not leave them unused for too long. Store them labeled with the name of the strain of mushrooms and the date in an airtight zip lock bag for best results.

 

         
  Guest Writer  

Written by: Guest Writer
Occasionally we have guest writers contribute to our blog here at Zamnesia. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, making their knowledge invaluable.

 
 
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