Mushroom Cloning – Part 1


Oyster mushroom clone

9 days of growth

I’ve begun some experiments in mushroom growing recently. My first step is trying to clone supermarket bought gourmet mushrooms, such as Oyster and Shiitake.

The main motivation behind this started out as an effort to save money, but as is often the case with these things, I’ll probably end up spending way more than I can hope to save on various bits of equipment and massive cock-ups. Either way, I’ll be documenting my progress here.

Mushroom clones in the airing cupboard

Sharing shelf space with my homebrew

The first step I took was to do a fair bit of reading on the matter of growing mushrooms. A good source of info was the book Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms by Paul Stamets. The book is mostly aimed at a commercial audience, so it goes a bit heavy on the expensive kit and clean room talk for the average hobby grower, but generally the advice seems top notch.

A couple of shroom growing websites also had a lot of useful advice, they were the forums over at Mycotopia and the Shroomery. Both sites are mostly about growing magic mushrooms, but have great tips on growing gourmet shrooms and mostly from the point of view of someone without much money or space, which is perfect for the likes of me.

Oyster and Shiitake mushroom clones

Stack of agar dishes and 2 growing on cardboard

Next up I ordered some petri dishes and agar. I’ll go into the specifics of making up a nutrient agar in the next post when I have a chance to take some pics of the process, it’s quite straightforward stuff though. I used a malt extract and yeast agar, which is essentially just malt extract, yeast extract, water and agar (to gel everything) mixed together, pressure cooked for 45mins and then poured into petri dishes.

After the dishes were poured and cooled I chopped some tissue out of the middle of some Oyster/Shiitake shrooms that I’d bought at the supermarket, using a heat sterilised scalpel and then burried it in the middle of the solidified agar jelly.

The dishes were sealed up using cling-film to stop any nasties getting in and the whole stack was sealed in a thick plastic sandwich bag and dropped in the airing cupboard to grow. The whole process needs to be kept very clean, but as with the agar, I’ll address that in another post.

Oyster mushroom clone gone wrong

That's a mold spot at the bottom

So far only the dish pictured above has grown any mold, which means my obsessive washing during the agar pouring/tissue extraction stages must have paid off. The next step will be to transfer the mycelium from the plates that do well into sterilised jars of Rye grain, but that’s a topic for another day…

Oyster mushrrom clones on cardboard

Oyster mushrooms cloned onto cardboard instead of agar - 7 days of growth

3 Responses to “Mushroom Cloning – Part 1”

  • Adam Says:

    I am interested how this project turned out. What did you do in the way of sterility, just gloves?, pressure cooker?, etc.. And most importantly…any luck?

  • Owen Says:

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for your interest in the project. I’m happy to say that I have had a couple of crops of mushrooms so far. I’ll get everything written up soon so you can see my results. Sterility wise I used a pressure cooker on the agar/jars/and later rye grain, and while I was preparing everything I used and alcohol spray on everything I was touching as well as my hands.

    Check back soon and I should have the next part up.

  • Ruth Says:

    how did the project go. any more documentation will help.

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