Working with Agar

Growing mycelium on agar is a common method used in mycology to propagate and preserve mushroom strains. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to grow mycelium on agar:

  1. Sterilize the agar: The first step in growing mycelium on agar is to sterilize the agar medium. This is usually done by pressure cooking the agar mixture for 20-30 minutes at 15 PSI to kill any unwanted bacteria or fungi.
  2. Pour the agar into petri dishes: After sterilizing the agar, it should be poured into petri dishes and allowed to solidify. The agar should be poured to a depth of approximately 1 cm to provide enough nutrients for the mycelium to grow. This should be done in front of a flow hood. Allow the plates to cool in front of laminar flow. Some people wait a dew days after this step to insure that the plates are clean before moving to step 3.
  3. Inoculate the agar with mycelium: Once the agar has solidified and cooled, it should be inoculated with mycelium. This can be done using a sterilized scalpel or loop to transfer a small amount of mycelium from a previously grown culture or directly from a wild mushroom. The mycelium should be spread evenly across the surface of the agar.
  4. Incubate the petri dishes: After inoculating the agar, the petri dishes should be sealed and incubated in a warm, dark place. The ideal temperature for growing mycelium on agar is between 20-25°C.
  5. Observe and monitor growth: After incubating the petri dishes, the mycelium should begin to grow and colonize the agar. The growth should be monitored regularly, and the petri dishes should be turned to ensure even growth on all sides.
  6. Transfer the mycelium: Once the mycelium has fully colonized the agar, it can be transferred to a new petri dish to increase the volume of mycelium or to a grain or substrate to produce fruiting bodies.

These are the basic steps for growing mycelium on agar. The process can vary depending on the species of mushroom being cultivated, but the principles remain the same. By following these steps, you can successfully grow mycelium on agar and propagate your favorite mushroom strains.