Sterilized mushroom substrate bags are a top option for growing mushrooms commercially or casually and this video shows how we create them for sale

Today we take a look at the Fungi Ally lab, where we create a variety of sterilized mushroom substrate for commercial and hobby mushroom farmers. We can help you grow your own mushrooms at home or in a commercial space with the sterile mushroom substrate bags.

We begin with our bank of flow hoods. These all have HEPA filters that we custom made. These are all connected to blowers. There are pre-filters on each that are easy to change out. We have four 2×2 flow hoods that we use.

On the other side of the room we have our pressure cookers. These pressure cookers are fun for about two hours at 15 psi to make our spawn. We can fit six total bags of spawn into each pressure cooker. What we do here is steam sterilize the mushroom substrate bags so we end up with a clean substrate. Take a look at this process for creating sterilized mushroom substrate bags in the video below.

An example of a sterilized mushroom substrate bag

We use both rye grain and millet in our mushroom substrate bags. We sell our sterilized bags blank sealed, with or without injection ports. The bags that have injection ports can be used for any kind of injectable liquid culture with a syringe for inoculation. You can also get these bags sealed, which you would open to inoculate and then reseal.

In the video I showcase the mushroom substrate of rye grain. This substrate has been heated up so that any other type of organism within it is killed off and it will not impact the growth of the mushrooms.

Once we have the bags ready, we seal them with our hand sealer. It is an automatic impulse sealer that It is magnetic, so you simply push it down, it holds it and seals the bag.

What to know regarding sterilized mushroom substrate bags and liquid cultures

Grain substrate is particularly good if you are going right from a liquid culture in a syringe or if you are trying to expand out of a petri plate. Sawdust substrate is good when you already have a mushroom strain growing and you want to expand it out for fruiting.

Two commonly-added ingredients to sawdust as a mushroom substrate for fruiting

The first is wheat bran, which is often added when growing shiitakes. It’s important to note that regarding mushrooms and gluten, all the gluten that is in wheat is broken down by the mycelium and that protein is no longer there.

The other is soybean hull, which is great for oysters, lion’s mane, and other species.

How types of spawn impact sterilized mushroom substrate bags

Spawn type and source has a large impact on yields. For instance, the two most common types of spawn used in oyster mushroom cultivation are sawdust and grain spawn. Grain spawn gives one major advantage by supplying a pre-colonized Nitrogen source to the sterilized  mushroom substrate. This can help to increase yields of low nitrogen substrates like straw or paper waste. Smaller grains like millet are preferred to larger grains like rye or wheat as they allow for more inoculation points from the same amount of inoculum. One pound of rye spawn may have about 200 particles for the mycelium to leap off from while Millet will have closer to 500. By using millet, a smaller grain, the mycelium will spread more evenly and abundantly through the substrate. Sawdust likewise can be better than larger grains because of the small particle size.

Furthermore, the source of the spawn will also factor in to the success of growth and yield achieved in cultivation. Spawn grown or purchased should be free of any detectable contamination. Smell or sight can be used to detect contamination. A bacterial or yeasty smell to the mycelium indicates spawn that should not be used. If patches of green, pink, red, orange, black, or other colors different than the rest of the mycelium are observed the spawn should not be used. It is tempting to try and remove a small patch of mold on spawn and use it anyways but this will not work. If the mold or bacteria is visible anywhere in the spawn it is present throughout the entire bag. If using aseptic technique, spawn that has been opened outside of the lab should not be used, as airborne contaminants are sure to be present and expanded into the new substrate.

Do you need sterilized mushroom substrate bags to grow mushrooms at home?

We can help you grow a variety of mushrooms at home with our sterilized mushroom substrate. You can buy bags of our substrate that are ready to fruit with strains of delicious gourmet mushrooms like oysters, shiitakes, and lion’s mane. You can also buy the substrate bags without any mushroom mycelium in them, which is perfect for doing your own inoculation with spores from a syringe or culture.

Check out all of our mushroom substrate options:

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