A spore syringe is a device used for cultivating mushrooms. It consists of a syringe filled with spores, which are microscopic fungal seeds. The spores can be injected into a substrate (such as rice or sawdust) to create a mushroom culture. Simple home-based instructions and a few inexpensive supplies are all that are required to make a spore syringe. We will demonstrate how to make a spore syringe in this guide.
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Materials you’ll need
- Spore print
- Sterile syringe (10-20 mL)
- Sterile water or saline solution
- Alcohol (70% or higher)
- Flame or alcohol burner
- Sterile work area (such as a laminar flow hood)
Step 1: Obtain a spore print
A grown mushroom cap placed on some paper or glass will produce a spore print, which is a collection of spores. The spores will drop onto the surface of the paper or glass, leaving behind a pattern of spores that can be used to identify the mushroom species. You can obtain a spore print by following these steps:
- Select a mature mushroom with a cap that is fully opened and flat.
- Cut off the stem close to the cap.
- Place the cap, gills down, on a piece of sterile paper or glass.
- To prevent it from drying out, place the cap inside a small glass or bowl.
- Leave the cap undisturbed for 24-48 hours.
- Remove the glass or bowl and carefully lift the cap away from the paper or glass.
- You should now have a spore print on the paper or glass.
Step 2: Prepare the syringe
Before filling the syringe with spores, it’s important to ensure that it is sterile to avoid contamination. Follow these steps to prepare the syringe:
- Remove the needle from the syringe and set it aside.
- Draw up alcohol into the syringe and swirl it around to coat the inside of the syringe.
- Expel the alcohol from the syringe.
- Draw up sterile water or saline solution into the syringe, leaving a small amount of air at the top.
- Replace the needle and sterilize it by holding it over a flame or passing it through an alcohol burner.
Step 3: Add spores to the syringe
Now that the syringe is prepared, it’s time to add the spores. Follow these steps:
- Use sterile forceps to pick up the spore print.
- Break off a small piece of the spore print and drop it into the syringe.
- Gently tap the syringe to dislodge any spores that may be stuck to the sides.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 as necessary to get all of the spores into the syringe.
- Expel any air bubbles from the syringe by slowly pushing the plunger until a small drop of solution comes out of the needle.
Step 4: Store the spore syringe
After making the spore syringe, it’s important to store it properly to ensure that the spores remain viable. Follow these steps:
- Label the syringe with the mushroom species and the date it was made.
- Store the syringe in a cool, dark place (such as a refrigerator) until ready to use.
- Before using the syringe, inspect it for any signs of contamination (such as cloudiness or discoloration).
- If the syringe appears contaminated, do not use it.
Making a spore syringe is a relatively simple process that can be completed at home with just a few basic materials.