Peroxide in mushroom growing

RushWayne rushwayne at
Fri Dec 20 18:58:38 EST 1996

I'm not sure I would say I've "perfected" the technique, since it still
has some limitations, but I have 
put it into a workable
form that many people could use.  I don't know what anyone
else has tried to do with peroxide, but I suspect that the
key to making it work lies in understanding what peroxide
will and won't do, and also understanding how to deal with
the peroxide-decomposing enzymes that are found in 
most living or once-living material.

To try to answer your question on the effectiveness of
the technique, agar petri dish cultures are the easiest to prepare.

Looking at the agar cultures I inoculated in the usual way, 
I have not had contamination on an agar plate for a long time.
The exception was a stint when I had let my reusable petri
dishes accumulate some old medium inside.  Once that was
corrected, there were no further problems.  So although
I don't know how many plates I'm really counting, the
success rate there has to be close to 100% following my
current protocols. 

I now have about 100 fruiting cultures going, which
are on oak pellet fuel sawdust plus supplements.  The pellet fuel was
reconsituted to sawdust with boiling water, which pasteurizes it.  It got
no further sterilization except for the added peroxide. 
 All of those cultures, which are at 
various stages from recently inoculated to forming 
primordia, look clean-- at least there is no sign of green or blue-green
mold.  I get some bacterial contamination near the mouth of the trash bags
I use, since the bags are not sealed, and the mycelium is not protected by
peroxide when it starts to grow up toward the mouth of the bag.  But this
interfered with fruiting.   I am growing mostly H. ulmarius
right now, which I admit is an easy, fast-growing species.
I am also growing P. eryngii and A. subrufescens on a 
regular basis.  I have had some problems with                             
                 mold attacking the P. eryngii fruiting bodies;  the
is long gone by the time the mushrooms appear, so at that
point I am at the mercy of the elements.

I inoculate my cultures with a spawn grown on a mixture
of sawdust, paper fiber pellets, and rabbit chow.  Looking
back over the spawn that I used to inoculate my current
crop of fruiting cultures, I remember one jar that I took out (because it
didn't look right) out of roughly one hundred.  
Even with peroxide, of course, I occasionally make
mistakes like touching something I shouldn't, then hoping
it will work anyway.

My spawn was all inoculated from agar plates with excised
wedges--I don't regularly do spawn multiplication because 
I have plenty of spawn for my uses without multiplying it.

Grain spawn has been more difficult, apparently because of the problems
posed by poor quality grain.  The rye that
I get locally will not work at all, despite overnight soaking
and extensive pressure-cooking and then peroxide.  I get
better results with soft white wheat, which was what I
used for quite a while without contamination until it became
unavailable locally for a period.  Millet might be a good
alternative, but I don't have a good protocol.

Rush Wayne


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