If growing mushrooms is important to you, knowing how to make a spore syringe is an essential skill to learn. Growing mushrooms is a long, tedious, but rewarding process, with many detail oriented steps. One of the first tasks in your journey is to inoculate a growing medium with mushroom genes. Inoculation can be performed using several methods, although using a spore syringe is considered one of the easiest and cleanest options, making spore syringes a desirable choice for beginners.
What is a Mushroom Spore Syringe?
A spore syringe is a syringe filled with sterile water and hydrated mushroom spores. Mushroom spores are the reproductive microscopic cells of fungi. They are the propagative element of a mushroom, and they enable the mushroom to reproduce and disperse itself. Spore syringes are used in the mycology space to begin the mushroom life cycle, by inoculating a growing medium. Furthermore spores can be used to continue a particular mushroom’s genetic line from your current crop to your next crop.
Why Do Mycologists Choose to Work With Spore Syringes?
Spore syringes are praised by mycologists of all experience levels, but they are especially helpful for beginners because of how easy they are to use. Choosing the spore syringe germination method can actually reduce the chances of contamination during inoculation when compared to other methods of germination such as agar. Because spores within a syringe do not have any contact with the open air, the contamination risk during inoculation is greatly reduced. Although we still highly recommend performing any spore tasks in front of a flow hood or inside a still air box.
Choosing an Adequate Spores to Make Spore Syringes
In order to make a spore syringe you’ll first have to obtain clean mushroom spores. For this guide we recommend getting your spores from a mushroom spore print. Spore prints can be sourced online, although make sure you are buying from a reputable source who carries clean prints. Alternatively if you’re already growing mushrooms you could make your own spore print, see our guide below to learn how.
How to Make a Mushroom Spore Syringe
Before you start you will need to source some supplies such as spores and syringes. Since we have already touched on spores above let’s get into syringes.
Syringes can be sourced from your local pharmacies for a hefty price, or can be ordered in bulk online. If you become friendly with your local pharmacist they may be able to order bulk syringes for you at a discounted price. Be-sure to obtain luer-lock syringes as they have a screw-like ending where you can attach a needle or a cap for protection during transport. One more thing, size matters. Syringes come in different sizes, you can source whichever size you want but 10 ml is the standard size for mycology.
To produce a successful spore syringe, one must ensure their workspace is as clean as possible. Making a spore syringe in open free flowing air will result in contamination of the spores from other fungi spores and bacteria present in the air. I highly recommend you do your work in front of a laminar flow hood, if not then at the very least inside of a still air box. Furthermore, be sure to wipe down all of your tools and equipment with 70% isopropyl alcohol and use flame sterilization when necessary. Finally organize all of your tools in a neat manner and place them within reaching distance as well as inform your housemates of the task at hand and politely ask them not disturb your sterile environment.
- Sterile syringe (luer lock, 10ml + preferred)
- Sterile needle (blunt tip is best for sucking up spores)
- Syringe cap for storage, or normal needle for inoculation
- Sterile water
- Drinking glass or shot glass
- Still air box (SAB) or laminar flow hood
- PPE (gloves, masks)
- 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
- Gas lighter or flame torch
- Pressure cooker
- Spore print
Step 1 – Sterilize Water
Fill the glass with water and place it in the pressure cooker, if you’re reusing old syringes, add them in as well. Run the pressure cooker for 30 minutes at 15 psi.
Step 2 – Cooling
Allow the water and other contents inside the pressure cooker to cool. Do not rush this step, if the water is too hot it will kill the spores in the later steps.
The cooling process can take several hours or even overnight. Avoid opening the pressure cooker until you are ready to work, as doing so could potentially expose the contents to contaminants.
Step 3 – Sterilize all Tools
Now comes the fun part! Sterilize your workspace especially the tweezers and scalpel, you may use a flame for these tools.
Step 4 – Remove Water From Pressure Cooker
Remove the sterile water and any other contents from the pressure cooker. Immediately place them inside your sterile still air box or in front of a flow hood.
Step 5 – Scrape Spores From Spore Print into Sterile Water
Remove the spore print from its storage container. Using the tweezers, hold it over the sterile glass of water. Using your other free hand, carefully scrap the spores into the water using a sterile scalpel or other flat edged tool.
Step 6 – Fill the Syringe With Spores
Place the needle end of the syringe into the water, draw water into the syringe, then empty the syringe back into the glass. Emptying the syringe back into the glass of spore water will help disperse the spores evenly so that you are able to get an even amount of spores into each syringe.
Step 7 – Allow the Spores to Hydrate
Now that you have filled your syringes with spores and water (spore solution), allow the spores to hydrate at room temperature for a few days.
Step 8 – It’s Ready, Use or Store the Syringe
With the spores now fully hydrated, the syringe is either ready for use or it can be stored in the fridge for later use.
How to Use a Spore Syringe (inoculation)
Using a spore syringe is often referred to as “inoculation”, which basically means implanting a microbe into another organism. In this case you will be injecting the spores into a growing medium such as sterilized grain spawn.
It is of the utmost importance to ensure the mushroom spawn is sterilized properly, and to clean the point of injection, as well as the tip of the needle before inoculation.
To inoculate mushroom spawn with a spore syringe, begin by allowing the syringe to reach room temperature. Shake the syringe well before injecting some or all of the spore solution into the spawn medium. After spore injection, it’s important to seal off the injection area to prevent unwanted mold and other fungi species from competing with the mushrooms that you are trying to grow.
How to Store a Spore Syringe
The way you store your spore syringes will determine how long they are viable for.
For long term storage place the syringes in the fridge in an airtight zip lock or vacuum sealed bag. Spores can last up to 12 months in the fridge. If you plan on using the spore syringes in the following week or month, they may be left at room temperature sealed inside an airtight zip lock or vacuum sealed bag.
Why Choose Spore Syringes Over Liquid Culture
Inoculating by liquid culture is another popular method of mushroom germination in the mycology world. Essentially spores begin growing mycelium within a nutrient enriched sterile water solution versus that of a spore syringe, where the spores are injected into a growing medium for mycelium to colonize.
Colonization can be quicker with liquid culture, since the mycelium has already started growing, although unless you can verify that the liquid culture came from a single isolated strain, you may run into several problems. Further into the growing process you might experience genetic competition and weak genes resulting in stunted growth.
Why Choose Spore Syringes Over Agar Culture
Agar culture is another popular method of inoculation amongst mushroom enthusiasts. Typically agar is grown in a petri dish setting using spores and nutrient sugar rich compounds. Similarly to making a spore syringe, spores can be dropped directly into the dish to encourage mycelium growth which can then be used to inoculate a mushroom spawn growing medium.
When inoculating using agar, the agar plate is fully exposed to the air making this process extremely risky if it’s not done in front of a flow hood or still air box. This is where spore syringes have the upper hand versus agar cultures. As long as the spore syringe was made in a sterile environment, during inoculation it has no direct contact with the open air, which greatly reduces the risks of contamination.
The Best Place to Buy Spore Syringes in Canada?
Perhaps after reading this guide your thinking to yourself, this all seems like too much work? You can skip this process and source ready made spore syringes from online suppliers. It’s important to do some research before purchasing spore syringes from any online shop. Check their reviews, see how long they have been in business for, and get in touch with them to answer any questions you may have.
We have over 25 magic mushroom spore syringe strains to choose from, some of our popular syringes include: Golden Teacher, Koh Samui, Albino Penis Envy, Blue Meanie, Penis Envy 6, and much more. Our customers have rated us 4.9 stars out of 5 and we have been in business for more than 3 years. All of our mushroom genetics go through rigorous quality testing before they are made available for sale to the public. Combined our team has more than 20 years of mycology experience, making us a worthy choice for your mushroom spore needs.