Paul Stamets

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Growing Gourmet <L Medicinal Mushrooms is terrific. It solidifies Paul Stamets' reputation as a mycological trailblazer. It is practical, comprehensive as well as inspirational—an absolute must for anyone who wants to grow their own mushrooms____

David Arora, author Mushrooms Demystified and All That the Rain Promises and


Stamets draws on the collective experience of centuries of mushroom cultivation, creating a revolutionary model for the use of higher fungi. Not only does it cover every aspect of cultivation, he also addresses the issues of environmentalism, health and business. For anyone who has ever wanted to grow mushrooms, this is "The Book".

Alan E. Bessette, Ph.D., Utica College of Syracuse University, NY.

Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms is the most comprehensive treatment of the subject I have seen in my 30 years as a mycologist and mushroom specialist. It is an absolute must for the day-to-day activities of professional mushroom growers and an extremely valuable resource for amateur growers, agricultural extension personnel, researchers, teachers, students, marketers, and anyone with an interest in mushroom culture and its practical applications. I heartily recommend this book to mushroom aficionados everywhere.

S. C. Jong Ph.D., The American Type Culture Collection, Rockville, MD.

Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms is the best and most comprehensive guide to growing mushrooms ever published. But Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms is much more than a grower's manual: it is a viswaary quest—and Paul Stamets is your best possible guide—not just for informing you about growing mushrooms, but for transforming you into a myco-warrior, an active participant in a hen c, Gaian process of planetary healing through mushroom cultivation. Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms is a sacred text for spiritual growth—an instruct in manual for all those seeking a happier and healthier way of life...

Gary Lincoff, author, The Audubon Field Guide to Mushrooms, the New York

Botanical Garden, N.Y.C.

Paul Stamets is the most successful cultivator of a wide range of exotic mushrooms known to me. In this latest book he brings together history, folklore, scientific facts and his own extensive firsthand experience—all presented in an entertaining and informative format. As with the earlier Mushroom Cultivator, Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms will certainly become a standard reference.

Scott Redhead, Ph.D., Dept. of Botany University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms is the most comprehensive and exciting book on the subject to be published. I hope it will make many of these useful species more available to more people throughout the world, because I believe these mushrooms can enrich our lives as well as improve our health.

Andrew T. Weil, M.D., author, Health and Healing and The Natural Mind.

This book should help advance the cause of mycology, and mushroom biology worldwide. It will be an important reference for those who are interested in research as well as in the cultivation of mushrooms. Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms is unique not only in its treatment of the technical aspects of growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms, but also in its emphasis on the environmental importance of mushrooms in terms of world biological diversity.

S. T. Chang, Ph.D, Dept. of Biology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Growing Gounnet & Medicinal Mushrooms is an extremely informative text on all aspects of the mushroom growing industry and provides us with the expertise of the author who has been cultivating mushrooms for over 20 years .This book adds to the extensive knowledge of the author's previous book, The Mushroom Cultivator, and thus will undoubtedly become a standard for those who would like to enter this field. It is written clearly, organized efficiently, and exhibits the love and enjoyment the author has for his chosen profession. It is a welcome addition to mycology in general.

David Largent, Ph.D, Humboldt State University, CA.

For both the commercial grower and the amateur, Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms is a very complete approach to the subject and I highly recommend it.

Orson K. Miller, Jr., Ph.D, Biology Dept., Virginia State University, VA.

This book, a true labor of love, makes a major contribution to our knowledge of the practical production of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms.

Dan Royse, Ph.D, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, University Park, PA.

This book should be on the library shelves of everyone interested in the cultivation of fleshy fungi.

... It is a mine of information and will be a source book for a good long time.

Roy Watling, Ph.D, Senior Principal Scientific Officer, Royal Botanic Garden,

Pick up this book and prepare to be swept away into the world of mushroom cultivation on the tide of Paul's contagious enthusiasm. He presents a wealth of ideas and detailed instructions for the cultivation of mushrooms in a book that is destined to join the ranks of mycological classics. Doers and dreamers, students and teachers will all find something to enjoy in this book.

Nancy Smith Weber, Ph.D, Forest Sciences Dept., Oregon State University, OR.

Copyright © 1993 Paul Stamets. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form by any means without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.

Published and distributed by: Ten Speed Press P.O. Box 7123, Berekely, CA 94707

ISBN: 0-89815-608-4

Printed in Hong Kong

Co-produced by Ten Speed Press and


a division of Fungi Perfecti

Olympia WA 98507

Typeset by Graphics Unlimited, Eugene, Oregon

Designed by Betsy Bodine Ford and Paul Stamets.

The author invites comments on Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms as well as personal experiences concerning mushroom cultivation. Address all mail to Mycomedia™ Productions.

an environment wherein ecological equilibrium is enhanced through the judicious use of fungi

To my family and the warriors of Hwa Rang Do

Table of Contents

1. Mushrooms, Civilization and HIstory — 1

2. The Role of Mushrooms in Nature 5

The Mycorrhizal Gourmet Mushrooms: Matsutake, Boletus, Chanterelles & Truffles----. 5

Parasitic Mushrooms: Blights of the Forest ... 9

Saprophytic Mushrooms: The Decomposers < 10

The Global Environmental Shift and The Loss of Species Diversity 13

Catastrophia: Nature as a Substrate Supplier 14

Mushrooms and Toxic Wastes • 14

Mushroom Mycelium and Mycofiltration * 15

3. Selecting a Candidate for Cultivation , — 17

Woodland Mushrooms 18

Grassland Mushrooms 18

Dung Inhabiting Mushrooms > 19

Compost/ Utter/Disturbed Habitat Mushrooms 19

4. Natural Culture: Creating Mycological Landscapes —----21

Some Wild Mushrooms Naturally Found in Beds of Wood Chips 23

Methods of Mushroom Cultivation 24

Spore Mass Inoculation 24

Transplantation: Mining Mycelium from Wild Patches 26

Inoculating Outdoor Substrates with Pure Cultured Spawn 26

When to Inoculate an Outdoor Mushroom Patch 30

Site Location of a Mushroom Patch 30

Stumps as Platforms for Growing Mushrooms 31

Log Culture 34

5. The Stametsian Model: Permaeulture with a Mycological Twis 41

6. Materials for Formulating a Fruiting Substrate ,.,.. 47

Raw Materials 48

Suitable Wood Types: Candidate Tree Species 48

List of Suitable Tree Species for the Cultivation of Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms... 50

Cereal Straws 53

Corncobs and Cornstalks 54

Coffe and Banana Plants 54

Soybean Waste .. 55

Structure of the Habitat 56

7. Biological Efficiency: An Expression of Yield 57

8. Home-made vs. Coi nmercial Spawn----------,----------------.. 61

9. The Miishroom Life Cycle 65

10. The Six Vectors of Contamination 75

11. Mind and Methods for Mushroom Culture_______________________ 83

Overview of. Techniques for Cultivating Mushrooms .. : , 85

12. Culfaring Mushroom Mycelium on Agar Media 89

Preparing Nutrified Agar Media 89

Malt Extract, Yeast Agar 90

Potato, Dextrose, Yeast Agar 90

Oatmeal, Malt, Yeast Enriched Agar 90

Dog Food Agar 90

Corn Meal, Yeast, Glucose Agar 90

Nitrogen & Carbohydrate Supplements 91

End-Substrate Supplements 92

Pouring Agar Media 92

Starting a Mushroom Strain by Cloning ..., 93

Cloning Wild Specimens vs. Cloning Cultivated Mushrooms 96

How to Collect Spores 96

Germinating Spores 100

Purifying a Culture 101

13. The Stock Culture Library: A Genetic Bank of Mushroom Strains 103

Preserving the Culture Library 104

The Stamets "P" Value System for Age Determination of a Strain 106

Iconic Types of Mushroom Mycelium 108

The Event of Volunteer Primordia on Nutrified Agar Media 115

14. Evaluating a Mushroom Strain 117

28 Features for Evaluating and Selecting a Mushroom Strain 118

15. Generating Grain Spawn 127

Formulas for Creating Grain Spawn 129

Grain Formulas for Spawn Production 130

First Generation Grain-Spawn Masters 133

Steps for Generating, Grain Spawn Masters 134

Second and Third Generation Grain Spawn 135

Steps for Creating Second and Third Generation Grain Spawn 136

Autoclavable Spawn Bags 139

Liquid Inoculation Techniques 142

Spore Mass Inoculation 142

Liquid Inoculation Techniques: Mycelial Fragmentation and Fermentation 146

Pelletized (Granular) Spawn 151

Matching the Spawn with the Substrate: Critical Choices on the Mycelial Path 152

Step-by-Step Instructions for Inocula :ng Sawdust ,.»..«, 156

17. Growing Gourmet Mushrooms on Enriched Sawdust 161

The Supplemented Sawdust "Fruiting" Formula: Creating the Production Block 162

Testing For Moisture Content ,».,. 164

Choosing a Sterilizer, a.k.a the Retort or Autoclave 165

Sterilization of Supplemented Substrates ,.. 167

Post-Autoclaving 170

Unloading the Autoclave 170

Atmospheric Steam Sterilization of Sawdust Substrates 171

Inoculation of Supplemented Sawdust: Creating the Production Block 173

Incubation of the Production Blocks 176

Achieving Full Colonization on Supplemented Sawdust 177

Handling the Bags Post Full Colonization 179

38. Cultivai ing Gourmet Mushrooms on Agricultural Waste Products 181

Alternative Fruiting Formulas 182

Heat Treating the Bulk Substrate 183

Alternative Methods for Rendering Straw & other

Bulk Substrates for Mushroom Cultivation s, 189

19. Cropping Containers 191

Tray Culture 192

Vertical Wall Culture 195

Slanted Wall or "A" Frame Culture 196

Bag Culture 196

Column Culture 198

Bottle Culture 204

20. Casing: A Topsoil Promoting Mushroom Formation 209

21. Growth Parameters for Gourmet and Medicinal Mushroom Species ... 211

Spawn Run: Colonizing the Substrate 212

Primordia Formation: The Initiation Strategy 213

Fruitbody (Mushroom) Development , 217

The Gilled Mushrooms 219

The Black Poplar Mushroom of the Genus Agrocybe , .,, . .. 220

Agrocybe aegerita

The Shaggy Mane of the Genus Coprinus 224

Coprinus comatus

Flammulina velutipes

The Clustered Wood-lovers 236

Hypholoma capnoides, Brown Gilled Woodlover 237

Hypholoma sublateritium, Kuritake (The Chestnut Mushroom) 242

The Beech Mushrooms 246

Hypsizygus tessulatus, Buna-Shimeii y2| 247

Hypsizygus ulmarius, Shirotamogitake '. ^ 254

Lent inula edodes u^

The Nameko Mushroom 277

Pholiota nameko

The Oyster Mushrooms 283

Pleurotus citrinopileatus, The Golden Oyster Mushroom 285

Pleurotus cystidiosus. The Abalone Mushroom 292

Pleurotus djamor, The Pink Oyster Mushroom . 297

Pleurotus eryngii, The King Oyster Mushroom 304

Pleurotus euosmus, The Tarragon Oyster Mushroom . 309

Pleurotus ostreatus, The Tree Oyster Mushroom 313

Pleurotus pulmonarius "P. sajor-caju", The Phoenix or Indian Oyster Mushroom 321

Psilocybe cyanescens complex

The King Stropharia of the Genus Stropharia ... 335

Stropharia rugoso-annulata

The Paddy Straw Mushroom of the Genus Volvariella 343

Volvariella volvacea

The Polypore Mushrooms of the Genera Ganoderma, Grifola and Polyporus 351

Ganoderma lucidum, Reishi or Ling Chi 355

Grifola frondosa, Maitake or Hen-of-the-Woods •. 370

Polyporus umbellatus, Zhu Ling or the Umbrella Polypore 380

The Lion's Mane of the Genus Hericium 387

Hericium erinaceus, Lion's Mane

The Wood Ears of the Genus Auricularia _________________ _______ 395

Auricularia polytricha

The Morels: Land-Fish Mushrooms of the Genus Morchella...,.., 401

The Morel Life Cycle 404

The Development of Indoor Morel Cultivation .. 405

Morchella angusticeps and allies: The Black Morels 409

22. Maximizing the Substrate's Potential through Spedes Sequencing 419

23. Harvesl ing, Storing, and Packaging the Crop for Market____________423

Harvesting the Crop 424

Packaging and Storing the Crop for Market 426

Drying Mushrooms - 427

24. Mushroom Recipes: Enjoying the Fruits of Your Labors 431

25. Cultivation Problems & Their Solutions: A Troubleshooting Guide _______443


I Descrip ions of Environments for A Mushroom Farm 455

The Laboratory Complex 455

The Growing Room Complex 456

Environment 1: The Growing Rooms 456

Environment 2: The Spawning Room 456

Environment 3: The Pasteurization Chamber or Phase II Room .. 457

Environment 4: The Main Corridor: A Highway for Substrate & Product Flow 458

Environment 5: Sorting, Grading & Packing Room ,. 458

Environment 6: The Refrigeration Room 458

Environment 7: Shipping & Receiving Room 459

Environment 8: Production/Recapture Open-Air Growing Room 459

II. Designing and Building A Spawn Laboratory 461

Design Criteria for A Spawn Laboratory 464

Good Clean Room Habits: Helpful Suggestions for Minimizing Contamination in the Laboratory 467

III. The Growing Room: An Environment for Mushroom Formation & Development — _____ 469

Design Criteria for the Growing Rooms 470

Managing the Growing Rooms: Good Habits for the Personnel 478

IV. Resource Ivirectory 481

Recommended Mushroom Field Guides * 481

Mushroom Book Suppliers , 483

Annual Mushroom Festivals & Events 483

Mushroom Cultivation Seminars & Training Centers 485

Mushroom Study Tours/Adventures 485

International Mushroom Associations ,.,, 486

North American Mushroom Societies & Associations..«...,, ,.., 486

Mushroom Growers Associations.. .., < 490

Sources for Mushroom Cultures 491

Sources for Mushroom Spawn 492

Grower's Associations & Sources for Marketing Information 493

Mushroom Newsletters & Journals 494

Mushroom Museums 495

Sources for Medicinal Mushroom Products . . 495

Mycological Resources on the Internet 495

V. Analyses of Basic Materials Used in Substrate Preparation 497

VL Data Conversion Tables 513

Weights & Volumes 514

Temperature 515

Heat Energy 516

Light 516

Pressure & Power 516

Miscellaneous Data .. 517

Glossary , 519

Bibliography 527

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