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Mushroom spores are the tiny particles that mushrooms use to reproduce.
Although spores are too small to be seen with the naked eye, making a spore print allows you to see the color of the spores. It is also one way to identify different types of mushrooms, since each type has its own unique spore print.
All sterilized e.g. in apressure cooker.
Mature mushroom cap
A sharp knife
Dark and light paper (fresh tin foil, index cards, wax paper, transparency, typing paper, glass slides....)
A large glass jar
Tweezers or gloves
Zip lock bags
Obviously, you will want to wash/sterilize your hands and work in a clean environment. To collect spores follow these steps:
1. Choose a proper mushroom cap.
The cap must not be too young or too old. Young and button caps, after breking veil, do not drop enough spores to create good spore prints. Mature caps may have already dropped their spores. Just before the cap becomes flat is a good moment. The cap must be chosen quite early and farthest from contaminations (e.g. mold, etc).
2. Take the cap properly.
Hold the cap with sterilized hands, gloves or tweezers and cut off the stem as near to the gills as possible with a clean/sterilized scalpel or knife, without bruising the gills.
3. Move the cap
to a sterilized area (e.g. glove box). The cap can be placed gills up in a sterilized plastic bag during transfer.
4. Prepare a clean/sterilized material you want to print on.
Aluminium foil, paper are appropriate and can be sterilized in a pressure cooker. Place the foil on a clean surface. Using paper under the foil can help to absorb moisture.
5. Place the cap on the printing material gills down.
This will allow the spores to fall onto the paper. Stick a toothpick on the cap to make it easier to remove later.
6. Cover the cap with a sterilized jar
or place the printing material in a sterilized plastic container (Tupperware...) with lid on. This prevent even a slight breeze from disturbing your print, and bring contaminates.
7. After 6 hours, remove the foil and a place a new one.
The first print is more likely to be contaminated that the next ones. Store and annotate the print, by folding it, placing in an aluminium foil and in a zip plastic bag.
8. Let for 12-24 hours at room temperature.
Leave the mushroom, jar and paper undisturbed overnight. This will ensure that enough spores have dropped from the mushroom to make a lovely print.
9. Pick up the cap
carefully, to avoid smudging the print. If your spore print is very weak put the cap and jar back and leave it for longer.
10. Replace the jar and let the print dry for a few hours
. Do not let it dry in open air or contaminates will settle on the print.
11. Fold the print and tape the edges
or leave it as is and put into a new small plastic zip baggie.
12. Label and store
in a dark, cold and dry place.
What you see in a spore print, is a mass of hundreds of thousands or millions of spores. In this quantity the color is easy to see. The commonest spore colours are white and various shades of brown. If the spores are white, you obviously won't see them very well on white paper. It might be a good idea to place the cap halfway on white and half on dark paper. Note that the colour of the gills need not be the same as the colour of the spores.
Deposit duration and moisture
Some species take a long time to build up a good spore deposit. If your spore print is very weak or not there, you can leave the cap longer. If the spores are not there, it may be possible that your cap is over mature and has already released the spores before pickup. It's also possible that the cap had already started to dry out when you collected it. Put a couple of drops of water on the cap, or a damp cotton ball next to the cap before putting the tub over. It's hard to get spore prints from mushrooms with small, thin caps. They dry out very quickly.
Shitake sporeprint in syrings:
-yoink the plungers from three 5 CC Syringes and make them stand up in half a jar of perlite with a teaspoon of water.
-put bodies of the syringes with needles attached into another jar needles up (Caps on needles), put a Tyvek disk over the needles and secure it with a ring.
-PC the jars and a small jar of water everything cooled.
-put a foil lid on the plungers and over that the metal lid and ring loosely.
-make a three feet structure with foil and glue/scotch it to the metal lid (alternative:Glue a strong magnet to the mushroom cap with crazy glue and let it set)
-fix the mushroom with the thee feet foil (alternative:take the metal lid to the mushroom and let the magnet stick to the lid)
-cut the cap with a sterile pair of scissors
-lifted the foil and put the metal lid with the mushroom cap on the jar above the 3 plungers and fastened the ring
-adjust the cap position
-after the spores are down (12-24 hours) pick up the syringe bodies by the needle caps and quickly put the plungers back in the bodies by pressing them down over the spore covered plungers standing upright in the perlite
- store dry for months till needed in a baggie with a desiccant pack or fill with sterile water and use right away.
Shitake sporeprint in sterillized water:
-fill a print jar ( with holes in lid that have been taped) with 20ccs of water ( squirt in two standard syringes )
-sterilize the water jar, the empty syringe and PC jars
-put on latex disposable gloves.
-cut off a cap with a sterilized blade. quickly transfer it to the water jar. ( undo lid, drop it in, re-seal lid )
-fix the mushroom in a distance from water and wait 12-24hours (as previously)
-untape one of the lid holes and insert sterilized syringe.
-tilt jar so that water is over the hole. Withdraw 10 cc of ?spore water?
-inject 1 cc into each of your prepared inoculation jars.
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