IS YOUR MAGIC MUSHROOM GROW KIT CONTAMINATED? TIPS TO RECOGNIZE AND PREVENT CONTAMINATION
Anyone can grow magic mushrooms at home, it is not very complicated and you do not need any special skills but it is important to work hygienically. You will need to keep an eye on your mushroom grow kit for possible contamination by fungi, bacteria or vermin.
The magic mushroom grow kit is vulnerable to such an infection. Every step of the cultivation carries the risk of contamination: from the spores, the mycelium or the magic mushrooms. In this blog you can read more about what an infection means, how to detect it and what you can do to prevent it.
Contamination of a magic mushroom grow kit
A mushroom grow kit makes it possible to grow mushrooms at home. But this is not a natural situation. In nature, mushrooms grow in the open ground, where there is a harmonious balance between all soil users. The substrate in a grow kit (in which the mushrooms grow) has been sterilized. But that means it is vulnerable to intruders, who will not encounter any competition there.
Your magic mushroom grow kit is contaminated if something enters it that does not belong there: it could be fungi, bacteria or vermin. Your mushrooms are sensitive and these contaminants can cause problems. If the grow kit becomes contaminated while spores are forming, your entire grow project could be in danger. If it happens at the time of fruiting, the caps may fall off.
It is therefore important to check your grow kit regularly. If you act in time, you can still remove contaminated cultures and prevent worse consequences.
The signs of contamination
A lucky thing in an accident is that an infection can be recognized quite easily. The mycelium is white, so if you see a different color there, you know there is something that doesn't belong there. The only exceptions are the color blue, which can also be a bruise on the mycelium. And yellow is a sign that the mycelium is old and defending itself against bacteria.
Contamination of your grow kit is very annoying. But if you know what to do, you can avoid worse problems.
You can pay attention to this
Discoloration: Keep a close eye on the color of the mycelium. The appearance of gray, black or green colors is a first sign of mold contamination.
Slime formation: If bacteria have entered your grow kit, you will see slime formation. This can occur on grain or the mycelium. There may also be brown or yellow spots and the texture of the mycelium becomes harder.
Scents: Another way to check your grow kit is to pay attention to scents. Sometimes everything seems fine, you don't see any disturbances, but contamination has nevertheless taken place. This is possible if a fungus that is very similar to the mycelium grows. A strange, unfamiliar smell can indicate this.
Dusty material: Sometimes you will need a magnifying glass to find an infection. Fungi that carry spores can be perceived as a dusty, powdery layer on the substrate. This is also something to check regularly.
Tips to prevent contamination of your grow kit
So to enjoy your grow kit, it is best to try to avoid contamination. That can be tricky: your own house is simply not a sterile laboratory and a single spore or bacteria is sufficient to cause an infection. Nevertheless, there are some tips to give you that minimize the risk of those nasty intruders.
1. Work in a sterile environment
Fungi spread through the air. They are everywhere and you cannot see them. That is why it is not easy to prevent airborne contamination. As an ordinary hobby grower you will not buy professional work cabinets in which the air is purified.
If you are handy, you can try to build a laboratory cabinet yourself. For this you take a transparent container with two holes in it. You can put your hands through that to work. You sterilize this box on the inside with alcohol, after which you can get started with your grow kit. Such a laboratory box is not as safe as a laboratory, but still a good way to minimize the risk of contamination.
If you don't use a cupboard, make sure that the place where you will be working is completely clean. Disinfect the work surface and make the area as clean as possible yourself.
2. Make sure you are clean yourself
You are another source of contamination! Fungi and bacteria also live on your own skin, so jhe clothing, hair and skin can all cause contamination. That is why it is a good tip to make sure that you are clean yourself when you start working with your mushroom grow kit.
Start with a shower and then wash your hair too. Really take your time for this and don't rush it. Clean yourself thoroughly, brush well and clean your nails too. You can also clean your hands after the shower with a disinfectant hand soap.
3. Clean clothes
It's not for nothing that people who work in a laboratory wear a special lab coat. You may not have one, but it is wise to pay attention to your clothing. Wear clean clothes before working with your mushrooms. A mouth mask is also not a superfluous luxury.
4. Cleaning tools
Finally, it is important to sterilize your tools. You clean every tool you will use. Think of blades, spore syringes and scalpels. You can do this by holding the tool over a flame for at least 30 seconds. A Bunsen burner is useful for this, but a lighter also works.
These tips can help you reduce the risk of contamination of your grow kit to reduce. Your environment will never be completely sterile, so it is always possible for contamination to occur. But if you work carefully, pay close attention and use these tips, you can hopefully avoid major problems.