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.
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.
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
- Permanent Marker
- Parafilm or Plastic Wrap
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.
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.
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.