Morel mycelium

xyzzyx xyzzyx at
Fri Jul 21 01:20:06 EST 1995

In article <3ukqlm$oh5 at>, xyzzyx at says...

>Hi Michael,
>        your description sounds very much like Morchella.  I have a protocol 
>for fruiting morels that you may be interested in (although it is amazingly 
>complex, it is allegedly effective).  I obtained it from Fred Stevens of the 
>San Francisco Mycological Society several years ago, when I took a mushroom 
>cultivation course taught by him.
>        I actually typed the whole thing in and tried to send it to you last 
>night, but my mailer freaked out and crashed my PC just as I went to send it. 
>        The gist of it is that you grow up the mycelia in a good growth 
>medium, refrigerate, soak, case, then fruit.  There is a fair amount of 
>humidity, CO2, and illumination manipulation involved.
>        If you are interested, please send me an Email and I will be happy to 
>type it up and send it to you.
>George Trager
>Email: xyzzyx at
The response that I have received to my response to the post about morel
mycelia has been nothing short of overwhelming.

First off, let me just say up front that I am NOT a mycologist (I am a
biochemist/protein chemist), so I can only present this method to the
best of my ability to recall and recreate it from my notes.

I got this information from a gentleman named Fred Stevens (Dr. as I
recall) of the San Francisco Mycological Society.  I took a mushroom
cultivation course offerred by the society (in 1988), he was the
instructor.  He got the basis of this method from someone else, I
believe, but the original source is not in my notes, so (unfortunately)
I can't offer full credit where it is due (my apologies to this
anonymous source).  Nonetheless, please respect Dr. Stevens and give him
credit for this method, should you pass it around, since he put it
together in a coherent form.

This information may (or may not, I'm not entirely sure) be the subject
of a patent application, so check that out before you proceed with any
commercial or publication related ventures.  I haven't been in touch
with the mycological society in many years, but they could very likely
put you in touch with Fred if you want to clarify this.

I never got a chance to try this out, my life got complicated and I
packed my notes away, I only pulled this out after I read the post
(quite by accident, I discovered this newsgroup).  I make no promises or
gaurantees of any kind, sorry.  Please let me know if it works.

I apologize for the American measurement units (can't call them English
anymore, I guess), I didn't feel like converting everything.

Well, enough of that, here it is:



SPAWN MEDIUM: 5 parts annual rye grass seed, 1 part potting soil.

PREPARATION: cover rye seed with water and soak for 24 hours.  Drain and
mix with potting soil.  Place 2 cups of this medium into a 1 quart
regular canning jar.  Fit with filter disc and ring and sterilize for 1
hr at 15 psi in an autoclave.

INOCULATION: clean work surface with 5% bleach, use a laminar flow hood,
if possible.  Remove filter disc from jar and quickly add a few small
pieces of agar cultured mycelium with a flame sterilized scalpel.
Replace filter disc.  Cover the filter disc loosely with foil to prevent
drying of the culture.  Shake the jar to thoroughly mix in the mycelium.
Place the jar in a cool (68 - 71 F), dark place for approximately 4 - 6
weeks.  Good growth will be indicated by whitish strands of mycelium
growing through the medium.  At ca. 5 weeks, small aggregates of white
to rust colored mycelia scerotia will form.


CONSTRUCT a fruiting room where temperature, humidity, light and fresh,
filtered, air can be precisely controlled.  "The Mushroom Cultivator" by
Stamets and Chilton has excellent ideas on growing rooms.

STORAGE OF SPAWN: Keep unused spawn refrigerated at 38-40 F.  Spawn is
viable for up to a year, under optimal conditions.

FRUITING SUBSTRATE: 20% sand, 30% potting soil, 50% organic material
composed of 80% small hardwood chips (ash, oak, maple, beech, elm,
apple, etc.), 10% rice hulls, 5% soybean meal, 5% sphagnum, and a small
amount of lime (the mineral, not the fruit) to bring the pH to 7.1-7.3.
Mix well.

with water.  Fill an autoclavable aluminum 9-1/4 X 9-1/4 X 2-1/2 inch
tray (i.e. cake pan) (liberally punched with drainage holes) to a depth
of 2 inches with substrate.  Allow to drain completely.  Fill a second,
identical tray with soaked, drained rye grass seed to a depth of 1/2 - 1
inch.  Set substrate tray into rye seed tray so that the bottom of the
substrate tray rests on the rye seed.  Place the prepared trays inside
an autoclave bag (oven cooking bags seem to work well) fitted with a
filtered closure and sterilize at 15 psi fr at least one hour.

SPAWNING THE SUBSTRATE: In a clean (use 5% bleach to clean up) draft-
free area (laminar flow hood recommended) open cooled substrate bag and
mix ca. 1/2 cup spawn into substrate using a flame-sterilized spoon.
Reclose bag and place in a cool (65-70 F) dark place for 4-6 weeks.
During this period (the spawn run) the relative humidity should be kept
at 90-100%, CO2 at 6000-9000 ppm, and no fresh air exchanges.  After 4-6
weeks, the surface of substrate should be covered with sclerotia.

CHILLING (A NECESSARY STEP): After spawn run, removerye seed tray from
bag, reclose, and place bagged substrate tray into refrigeration (38-40
F) for two weeks.

FRUITING: Remove bagged tray from refrigeration.  Remove substrate tray
from bag and place in fruiting chamber or room.  Slowly saturate
substrate with sterile (65-70 F) water at a rate of 1.5-2.5 fluid
ounces/hr/square foot of substrate surface area for 12-16 hours.  Allow
substrate to drain completely (for ca. 24 hours).

believe).  Layer evenly to a depth of 1/2".  Allow 7-10 days for
mycelium to run through the casing.  Air temp 65 - 70 F.  Filtered fresh
air exchanges at 1 - 2 per hour.  Keep dark.  CO2 6000-9000 ppm.

PRIMORDIA FORMATION: 3-7 days.  Substrate moisture 60%, relative
humidity 95-100%, air temp 70 - 73 F, filtered fresh air exchanges 6 -
8/hr.  Light cycle 12 on / 12 off (grow lights).  Keep CO2 less than 900

FRUIT BODY MATURATION: Substrate moisture 50%, relative humidity 85-95%,
air temp 73 - 77 F.  filtered fresh air exchanges 6 - 8/hr.  Light cycle
12 on / 12 off (grow lights).  Keep CO2 less than 900 ppm.


                                                   OUTDOOR CULTIVATION

STORAGE OF SPAWN:  as above.

WHEN TO "PLANT":  Spring through Fall (we're in Northern California, so
adjust accordingly).  INoculated area must be kept moist during hot, dry

WHERE TO PLANT: Under type of trees where you find morels in your area,
i.e. ash, oak, maple, beech, elm, old apple orchards, etc., in your
garden with perrenials such as jeruselum artichoke or asparagus.

HOW TO PLANT:  Gently remove forest litter from 7-8 square foot area for
each pound of spawn to be planted.  Loosen soil to a depth of 1 - 2
inches and moisten lightly, if dry.  For each 7 - 8  square foot area,
add 1 pound (soaked 48 hours) wood chips (from above types of trees) to
loosened soil.  Next, break up spawn and distribute evenly over prepared
areas.  Mix lightly with wood chips and soil.  Replace litter and keep
moist, especially during hot, dry months.  Supposedly, a cover crop of
clover helps to keep soil moist and adds nitrogen to the soil.

WHEN THEY FRUIT: Late April - early June.  Fruiting should occur the
spring following planting.  If yu have a dry spring, be sure to water
the planted area.

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