If you harness the power of mushroom genetic preservation in mycology you will master the trade. As time goes on, most growers in the mushroom industry acquire hundreds, if not thousands, of different tissue cultured isolations. We must strive to preserve the genetics and ensure their long-term viability. By far the most effective way to store colonized agar plates is via distilled water tubes. Scientists have discovered that using distilled water and cold temperatures (35-41°F) can preserve mycelium for years.
When storing mushroom cultures, it’s crucial to maintain proper sterile technique, using either a still air box or flow hood. Additionally, it is essential to test and approve the genetics before proceeding to this step. Once the colonized agar plates are fully grown, the process is ready to move forward. Sterilizing distilled water at 15psi for 45 minutes stands as an important step; it plays a crucial role in the process. To avoid potential wastage, it’s crucial to sterilize the water for at least 45 minutes before storing it in tubes.
Use a scalpel or a 10 mm punch tool to neatly cut your wedges. These pieces will fit perfectly into the 15 ml tubes. The punch tool allows researchers to extract precise samples from agar plates without damaging the surrounding culture. Cleanly cut a 10mm diameter plug to effortlessly transfer specimens or mycelium tissue between mediums. Being a well-rounded mycologists means being comfortable using all types of lab equipment. Punch tools should be handy as well as scalpels, knowing which one is best for which scenario is the next step in being a lab expert.
Once the agar is cut into smaller pieces, you can start filling up the tubes with water as part of the process. Fill each tube with distilled water, either through a sterilized syringe or a medium bottle with transfer tube, about 3/4 full. It is important to not do less or more distilled water than this amount. If you add too much water the agar wedges will not fit the maximum amount, if you do not use enough water the amount of free space and air will create a decrease in the life span of the mycelium. The key is maximizing the amount you are storing and the longevity of stored elements. Again this is a blog about long term storage so follow these steps exactly :).
How long will my mushroom genetics last in water tubes?
Expect a minimum of 3 years per tube as long as the cap is wrapped properly (5-6 rotations with grafting tape). Also the fridge in which you are storing the tubes must remain cold for the entirety of the storage duration (35-41 degrees F). The average life span of an agar plate is only a few months at best, cold slants are the second best option sometimes lasting a few years. A cold slant still contains agar and will not come close to out lasting mycelium suspended in water. The agar wedges suspended in water can practically hibernate with no air interaction which slows down the degrading process of the genetic material. Water tubes have been seen to hold isolated mushroom cultures for over a decade.
Empty air space is usually the most problematic issue with storing mushroom cultures on cold slants. Another big issue with agar cold slants is the amount of genetic material you can even fit in one. By taking the agar plate and dividing it into small pieces you can store the entire plate in 1-2 tubes. This is a huge advantage in relation to going back to your master culture. Another massive flaw most commercial grows still struggle with. Important to know if you master the genetic preservation of mushroom cultures and isolations you will be a successful grower.
Your water tubes contain dozens of agar wedges. Each one of these agar wedges will replicate that amazing result you first had when you grew out the culture. When mycologists want to assure the culture they are using is still top notch, they go back to the master tube and place a wedge onto a new plate and watch the success roll over. If the genetics are still viable, it will show abundant and dense growth. This technique of storage is to ensure the longevity of your genetics and we encourage you to try this as a new method of prolonged research.