Posted by pinksharkmark on November 02, 2001 at 00:25:10:
In Reply to: how long can spores be kept? posted by ShariRae on November 01, 2001 at 23:24:50:
Spores are shipped as either a spore "print" or as a spore "syringe".
A spore "print" is produced by laying the severed cap of a mushroom gill-side-down on a piece of paper, a glass slide, or a piece of aluminum foil. The spores drop off, forming a pattern that mirrors the gills of the mushroom. The spores themselves are microscopic: a single spore cannot be seen with the naked eye, but millions of them form a fine dust resting on the paper.
These spores are dry, and dormant. A properly stored print is viable for years. No one knows for sure exactly how long. The record is over a hundred years, but it varies from species to species. A spore print from a commercial spore supplier should be good for at least two years, more likely five years, possibly even longer.
A spore "syringe" is nothing more than a standard sterilized hypodermic syringe that has been filled with a solution of spores in sterilized water. Because each spore print contains millions and millions of spores, a normal-sized print can make at least five and often more, of the standard 10 cc syringes.
The advantage of a syringe is that the spores are already rehydrated (dry spores will not germinate) and are in a handy, sterile instrument that is just perfect for injecting spores into the sterilized growing jar without letting contaminants enter the jar... just inject through a small hole in the lid of the jar and tape the hole over.
If you have only a spore print, you will have to make your own syringe before starting your cultivation. While not especially difficult to do technically, it can be tricky for an amateur not familiar with good sterile technique to get a clean syringe on the first try. This is why most amateur growers will order pre-made syringes for the first few crops. All reputable suppliers guarantee their syringes to be contaminant-free and will replace any syringe that is not.
Shelf life of a spore "syringe" is shorter than that of a print, because the spores are not dormant, they are fully hydrated and ready to go. Again, there is no agreed-on maximum. Some say that a properly stored syringe will last over two years. All will agree that it will be viable for a minimum of six months, if kept in the refrigerator (NOT the freezer). So... six months to a year would be a good estimate for a syringe.
I will gladly e-mail my list of preferred suppliers to anyone who wants it, along with some tips and links to sites that have excellent growing instructions.
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