Urban Spore

How To Clone Mushrooms

Cloning mushrooms, or growing fungal mycelium on agar plates will give you the ability to keep a collection of mushroom in storage and reproduce the exact strain when required.

agar plate for mycology

Is It Easy To Clone A Mushroom?

The process to making your own culture from a fresh mushroom is very easy. In just a few steps you can create your own culture on an agar plate. Thick, fleshy mushrooms like king oyster, shiitake, gold top and button mushrooms are easiest to work with.

It’s important to work quickly with agar to avoid contamination. Fortunately, it’s comparatively easy to isolate mycelium from contaminants when cloning a mushroom due to the speed at which it will colonise.

agar plates for mushroom growing

What Is An Agar Plate?

A nutrient agar plate is a form of sterile media in a petri dish. These plates are used for the cultivation of mycelium. 

By growing mycelium on an agar plate it can be stored for a longer period of time. Additionally, the isolation of contaminants and mono-cultures can be undertaken on agar.

What You'll Need

  •  Agar Plate
  • Mushroom Fruiting Body
  • Scalpel
  • Torch
  • Permanent Marker
  • Parafilm or Plastic Wrap

Pre-Poured Agar Plates

There’s nothing quite like the convenience of pre-poured agar plates specially produced for mushroom growing.

Step 1. Prepare Work Space

It’s important to clean your work space before undertaking work that involves aseptic technique. Wipe down the surface, close the room and turn off fans at least 30 minutes beforehand.

It is preferable to undertake all work with sterile media with the aide of a laminar flow hood. Otherwise results may vary.

Step 2. Clean & Open Mushroom

Wipe down the outer surface of the mushroom with alcohol on paper towel. This is to ensure that no debris crosses into the mushroom once dissected.

Carefully tear open the mushroom to expose the inner tissue. This tissue should be free from contamination. Keep covered.

cloning mushrooms

Step 3. Heat Sterilise Scalpel

Heat sterilise the scalpel in preparation for taking a tissue sample from within the stem or cap of the mushroom. The scalpel must not be placed on any surface after sterilisation. 

The follow steps should be followed swiftly to avoid contamination unless working in the presence of a laminar flow hood.

Step 4. Remove Sample

Using the sterilised scalpel remove a sample of the mushroom fruiting body. 

Step 5. Transfer Sample

Place the sample on the centre of an agar plate. Replace lid on plate as quickly as possible.

agar plate for mycology

Step 6. Seal, Label & Store

Seal the agar plate with parafilm or plastic wrap. Ensure that all plates are labelled with species and date. Store plates at room temperature away from direct sunlight and observe growth. Contaminants will usually become visible within 3 – 5 days. 

Find Parafilm Online

Using parafilm ensures that the agar plates can breathe while maintaining a tight seal and preventing the development of contaminants.​

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