How To Take Clean Spore Prints
Storing the genetic lineage of a strain in mycelium is unpractical and depletes its vitality over time. To ensure genetic variety and renewed vigour, the dedicated mycologist works with spore prints. In addition to forming the basis of any serious mycelial undertaking, spore prints can be easily used to create spore syringes. They are easier to work with and reduce the chance of contamination during inoculation. Learn here How to make a Mushroom Spore Syringe.
Making the spore print
If you are getting ready to make a spore print, you are most likely already familiar with the hygienic precautions that were necessary to grow the shrooms. If not, it‘s worth repeating: utter caution needs to be taken to ensure a clean working environment. A single mold or yeast spore WILL absolutely mess up your undertaking. If possible, work under a flow hood or a glove box.
For this process you will need the following:
- Sanitizer air spray
- Glass jar
- Portable surface (such as CD cases)
- Suitable cover (petri dish)
- Glove box
- Paper towels
- Alcohol wipes/gel
- Paper clip
- Zip lock bags
1. Firstly the prep work. Sterilize your work area with a sanitizer.
2. You will need to obtain some high quality, heavy duty aluminium foil for the prints to be made on. Cut 2 squares of foil for each print you intend to make. Each square should be about 10cm wide.
3. Place the foil squares in a glass jar and cover them up with a lid made of foil.
4. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Celsius and place the jar with the foil squares in for about an hour. This is in order to sterilize it. After this, wait for it to cool down until you can comfortably touch it.
5. Next, prepare the items you will be using for the prints. You will need a small portable, hard surface for each print to rest on, as well as something to cover each mushroom cap with. A good example would be CD cases to rest them on, and petri dishes to cover them. You will also need some paper towels, alcohol wipes/gel and a scalpel to cut the mushroom.
6. The final part of the prep is to disinfect all equipment. Put on some gloves and wrap your CD cases in paper towels. Place all of the items into the glove box and spray your sanitizer into the box. Place the lid on the box and wait a few minutes to allow the sanitizer to kill anything that may be present.
7. Now disinfect your gloves with the alcohol gel. Take off the foil lid from your glass jar and take out the squares of foil, one by one, placing them on your paper towel covered CD cases, shiny side up. Place a petri dish over each as you go. The small stature of a petri dish means you can stack your CD/petri dish combo within the small space you have. When you are done, replace the foil lid on your jar.
8. Next we come to the mushrooms themselves. Disinfect your scalpel with the alcohol gel and cut off the mushrooms at the top of the stem, separating the cap from the stem. Be careful not to damage the caps in the process. Hold each cap by the edge and bring them over to your glove box. Insert them trough the hand holes into the glove box, remove the petri dish off of the top CD case and place the mushroom cap, gills facing down, onto the foil. Now replace the petri dish to cover it. Repeat this process until you have placed all of your caps.
9. Now that this is done you can open the glove box and remove the stack of caps. Place them somewhere safe to work their magic for the next 36 hours. During this time, the spores will fall from the caps onto the foil.
10. After the time passed, place everything you need back into your glove box, including a paper clip and your prints. Spray your aerosol disinfectant into the box and put on the lid for a few minutes to allow it to kill everything again.
11. With gloves on, disinfect the paperclip and bend it so that you have a pointy tip. Poke into the cap, being careful not to move it at all, or stab the foil underneath. Lift the cap straight up, being careful not to move the print. Place the petri dish back over the print and proceed to the next print. Repeat the process until you have done them all.
Note: The caps are still good for use.
12. Once this is done, take the prints (still under their petri dishes), out of the glove box. Put them somewhere safe to dry for a further 24 hours.
13. Now that this is done, you need to prepare your prints for storage. To do this, place the prints, jar of foil squares, straight edge ruler, marker pen, scissors, alcohol wipes and some zip lock bags into your glove box. As before, spray in your disinfectant, put the lid on and leave it for a few minutes.
14. Put on your gloves and disinfect them.
15. One by one, take you first print and remove the excess foil from them. Remove the foil lid from your jar, take a foil square, and with the shiny side up, fold one side of it upwards with your straight edge.
16. Place your print onto this folded foil square, butting it up against the crease.
17. Fold the crease over tightly, so that the print is held in place. Now trim the remaining sides of the cover foil down a little bit, and crease and fold those over as well.
18. You should now be left with a secure print. Place it into a zip lock bag, seal it, and then label the bag with a marker pen.
19. Repeat this process for each print.
That’s it, you have now created some spore prints ready to be safely stored away!
As you can see, creating your own prints is quite a lengthy process, but it gives you the basis to maintain favourite strains and develop new ones. Happy printing!