What we mean when we refer to ‘cloning’ is not some complicated DNA procedure, but simply scraping tissue from a mushroom under sterile conditions, and then placing it onto sterile media to grow. Mushrooms are composed of mycelium, thus when we transfer a small piece of mushroom tissue to sterile media, we’re transferring live cells that will continue to divide, giving us in most instances, a perfect genetic copy of the original.
This technique is generally how we bring wild strains from nature into our sterile cultivation practices. Near complete sterility is required when transferring to agar media, and those procedures are described and demonstrated in detail on the Let’s Grow Mushrooms DVDs. We want to isolate pure mushroom mycelium away from the natural contaminants that coexist harmoniously in a natural outdoor environment.
If cloning an indoor grown mushroom, this process is much easier. Simply tear the stem of the mushroom in half lengthwise to open up virgin tissue that has never been exposed to open air and the natural contaminant spores that are always floating within. When cloning outdoor wild mushrooms, the process is generally the same, but be prepared to make a series of transfers over the next few days to move your mushroom mycelium away from the mold and bacterial contaminants that will also be attempting to colonize your sterile media. Always transfer mushroom tissue away from the contaminants, rather than trying to move the contamination away from your tissue, which only spreads the nasty stuff further.
The full release of this section on the “Let’s Grow Mushrooms” 2 DVD set plays at full screen broadcast TV resolution and goes into detail on the procedures, plus shows exactly what the contaminants look like on Petri dishes. You’ll see what to transfer, and what to throw away. In this low resolution sample clip, you’ll get an idea of what to expect on the full release.
Enjoy the clip.
Marc R Keith