This is the last part of creating mushroom cakes. The goal today was to inoculate them with mycelium and let it grow in a dark place.
During this step the medium is sterilized already. However if the environment where this task is done is not sterile, there is a high probability of mold and bacteria contamination. Some contaminants, like Apergillus, release deadly toxins and are the strongest of hepatocarcinogenes known. So it is critical to have a sterile environment. You can read more about mushrooms’ contaminants here http://en.psilosophy.info/what_are_common_contaminants_of_the_mushroom_culture.html
(Warning: images there are pretty unappetizing)
Step 1. Create a still air box
I assume there will be no issues with creating a sterile environment in space. After all all biological labs have it. The problem is that equipment costs thousands of dollars. The cheapest possible kind-of-sterile environment can be achieved by using a still air box. It is a transparent tote box with holes for hands, and a person does all the operations inside the box. It prevents airborne contamination. So I made this box using a tote box and circular drill, and sterilized it with vinegar and alcohol.
Step 2. Inject jars with mycelium
Jars with medium to be taken from a pressure cooker and injected with mycelium through previously drilled holes in the caps. I was doing it for the first time, so I didn’t use mycelium efficiently. Instead of having 8 jars of each mushrooms’ strains - King, King Blue and Pearl. I lost mycelium on the first 2 strains and had 6 of each. And the syringe with the last strain - Pearl - was used to inject mycelium in 12 jars. This means on average, the jar with Pearl strain got 50% of the amount of mycelium that jars with other strains did. So I expect the Perl strain’s mycelium to grow much slower. And it will cause the first complication to the project - mushrooms’ cakes will not be all ready at the same time.
This is how working in still air box looks like
The process of injection
Step 3. Move jars to a dark clean chamber and wait
After injection all jars were moved to a dark, clean place. In my case - freezer of not-working fridge. There mycelium will grow and eventually colonize the whole jar.
Now I just have to wait for 2 weeks and see if this process was successful.
While mycelium grows, I will be working on my enclosure, so the next blog post will be about electronics.