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The Sterilization and disinfection of Magic Mushroom cultivation materials

Posted under: How to's

We love the cubensis fungi but lower-fungi loves fungi too! Disinfection and sterilization keeps them out or at least reduce the contamination of your substrate and magic mushrooms.
This blog post will cover the following subjects: how to sterilize and disinfect, what products you can use for sterilization and what materials need sterilization and/or disinfection.

How to sterilize or disinfect your cultivation materials

Most materials and substrate ingredients you are going to use in magic mushroom cultivation need sterilization. The materials can be divided in three groups by method of sterilization and disinfection. Sterilization by flame, pressure cooker or disinfect with alcohol.

When it comes to sterilization thing are sterile or they are not. When you are not sure if the sterilization is done properly do it again!

Sterilization by flame

For sterilization with this method you can use a Spirit/alcohol burner or just a common lighter. This method you can use for syringe needles, scalpels and tweezers. Keep the tip of the needle, scalpel or tweezers in the center flame until it gets red hot. Let the heated surface cool down before you use it on plastic parts like an injection port or spore vial.

Sterilization with Pressure cooker

The best method to get anything sterile is by pressure cooker (PC). If you have PC use it. If you do not have a pressure cooker borrow it, buy it or 'find' it. Lots of people still have one lying around from when the canning of fruits and vegetables was still a necessity for the conservation of food. (And If they were in to canning they will have the right jars for your substrate cakes too.) Use the PC according it's instructions or/and read our pressure cooker guide. Make sure the pressure cooker and all parts are clean before you use it. Take it for a test drive if you do not know if it works like it should or when it is you first time using a pressure cooker.

Always check if it possible to put a material in a pressure cooker, most of the times you can check the packaging of the product if there is any warning about high temperatures.

Disinfection with alcohol

This method of disinfection is commonly used for surfaces like workspace or injection port of a spawn/ substrate bag.  Use an alcohol prep to swipe the surface of the injection port.  Make sure you open the alcohol prep without touching all sides of the prep, than the prep is not sterile anymore and is of no use. The alcohol preps are wrapped folded so you can take them out of the wrapping foil without ruining the whole prep. Keep it folded until you reach the surface you want to clean. Unfold / open the alcohol prep and swipe with the untouched side of the alcohol prep the surface of a spore vials cap,  injection port or other small surface you want sterile.

For sterilization of larger surfaces you can use any disinfectant house hold product. Also see the post on working clean

Hand disinfectant is also alcohol based.

We now know what we can sterilize with what. Have a look at our side in the category Sterilization for good products to use

List of common cultivation materials that need sterilization before use or when you reuse them:

  • Grow bag or filter bag
  • Jars and lids
  • Plastic containers and lids
  • Petri dish
  • Scalpel
  • Tweezers
  • Syringe needle
  • Spore vial
  • Spore syringe
  • Liquid culture vial

Substrate ingredients that need to be sterilized

  • Brown rice flour ( BRF )
  • PF-tek substrate
  • Rye grain
  • Grass seed
  • Vermiculite
  • Straw
  • Manure

Products that you can get already sterile and wrapped individually or by pair.

  • Scalpel
  • Syringes 5ml
  • Syringes 10ml
  • Syringes needles
  • Tweezers
  • Alcohol preps
  • Gloves (all sizes)
  • Spore vials
  • Liquid culture vials