How to Use Liquid Culture.
Liquid culture is a popular method of growing and propagating mushroom mycelium.
It involves using a sterilized nutrient-rich liquid medium as a substrate for the mycelium to grow and colonize.
In this post, we will briefly discuss how to use liquid culture to inoculate liquid culture jars, grain spawn, and agar plates.
We will cover the necessary equipment, sterilization technique, and step-by-step instructions for each method.
By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of how to use liquid culture for mushroom cultivation and be able to successfully apply these techniques in your own mushroom growing endeavours.
How To Use A Purchased Liquid Culture Syringe.
- A syringe filled with liquid culture, which is sealed with a luer lock and parafilm tape for added cleanliness.
- A sterile needle with a cap, which is packaged in sterile packaging for your convenience, safety and ensure sterility.
- Some suppliers may also include an alcohol wipe to help with sterile technique.
Overall, these items are designed to provide you with a safe, sterile and easy way to use the liquid culture syringe.
To use your liquid culture mycelium syringe should do the following:
Start by preparing a clean and sterile workspace. This can help to prevent contamination of your liquid culture. It is advised to use a still air box for this but equally wiping down surfaces with soapy water can be sufficient.
Put some rubber gloves and a face mask on, wipe down your gloves rubbing alcohol.
Collect the items you will be inoculating. Then wipe them all down with alcohol and set them aside.
Unpack the syringe and other supplies. Remove the sterile needle from its packaging and attach it to the syringe by removing the luer lock and parafilm tape.
Grab something to flame sterilize the needle before inoculation. I recommend a small butane torch as it makes the process much faster.
Remove the cap from the needle.
Take the alcohol wipe and wipe down the surface you are going to be injecting through.
Flame sterilize the needle until it is glowing red.
Gently insert the needle into the desired injection site.
Inject 1cc of liquid culture into the jar or bag. I like to do this along the side of a jar so the culture trickles down into the bottom.
Remove the needle and repeat the process for the remaining jars/bags.
It is important to follow the instructions properly for the best chance at success. Once completed
I normally just wipe the end of the needle down with alcohol and put the cap back on to store it.
It will be re-flamed before use next time so you don't have to worry about it being sterile.
Inoculation Through Micropore Tape.
First, cut a small piece of micropore tape and place it on the lid of the jar.
Make sure the tape is long enough to cover the hole you will use to inject the mycelium.
Once the micropore tape is in place, gently fold it back so that it is out of the way.
Wipe the remaining micropore tape with alcohol then inject through the hole.
As you draw the needle out the hole flip down the second piece of micropore tape.
Inoculation Through Injection Port.
Inoculation through an injection port is a little less complicated.
Wipe the area you will be injecting with alcohol.
Push the syringe through the centre of the port, ensuring the needle has fully passed through the port.
Inject mycelium into jar.
Pull out the needle once complete.
Since the injection ports are self sealing when you draw the needle out of the port it will seal itself.
Using Liquid Culture From A Jar.
If you have created your own liquid culture from a liquid culture syringe which is now growing in a jar you might be wondering how do you get liquid culture into a syringe from the jar?
Often the liquid culture can become thick and difficult to draw up into the syringe so I am going to quickly outline how I get my liquid culture out of the jar.
Take the liquid culture picture below for example, how would you go about getting that blob into a syringe?
Here are the basic steps I follow to get liquid culture from one of my LC jars:
- First, I sterilize my syringe by boiling a pot of water on the stove and drawing up boiling water multiple times into the syringe, making sure to keep the needle head on.
- Next, I take my liquid culture jar and wipe the area around the injection port with alcohol.
- Then, I flame sterilize the syringe until it is glowing red and insert it through the injection port.
- To make it easier to break up any mycelium clumps that may have formed. I tip the liquid culture jar slightly to cool down the end of the syringe before pumping it inside the jar a few times beside any large clumps.
- If the mycelium is particularly stubborn, I may need to give it a few hard pumps to break it up.
- After breaking up the mycelium, I draw up the liquid culture into the syringe, being careful to grab some of the broken mycelium.
- Then, I gently shake the syringe to mix the contents and ensure that they are evenly distributed.
Now, I am ready to use the liquid culture to inoculate my substrate.
How To Store Liquid Culture.
- Store in the refrigerator: To extend the shelf life of the liquid culture, store the syringe in the refrigerator. This will slow down the growth of any contaminants and prevent the culture from deteriorating.
- Avoid freezing: Do not freeze the liquid culture syringe as this can cause the spores or mycelium to die.
- Use within a few weeks: While storing the liquid culture in the refrigerator will extend its shelf life, it is still best to use it within a few weeks to ensure that it is still viable. If you are not planning on using the liquid culture within this time frame, you can consider transferring it to a new substrate (e.g., agar, grains) to preserve it for longer.
How long will Liquid Culture last?
The shelf life of liquid culture depends on a few factors, including the type of culture, the storage conditions, and how it was made.
In general, liquid culture can last for several weeks to a few months if stored properly in the refrigerator.