If you want to learn how to harvest mushroom spores, you must first make a spore print. Mushroom spores are the tiny particles used by mushrooms to reproduce. Making spore prints of mushrooms is the first step in harvesting mushroom spores.
Things you’ll need to harvest mushroom spores:
- Mushroom print
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Paper towels
- Scalpel or other tool to remove spores
- Empty sterile syringes
- Covered beaker filled with sterilized water
Follow the steps below to create a spore print and harvest mushroom spores:
- Make a spore print. Harvest a relatively mature mushroom cap by slicing it off with a knife. Place the spore-producing surface of the mushroom (gills) flat on a sheet of paper or on a glass slide. Cover with a jar or plastic container. Leave the mushroom for several hours. Remove the mushroom from the paper or slide. The mushroom spores should be visible.
- Clean the surface you will be working on with alcohol to avoid contaminants. Mushroom spores must be harvested in a clean environment.
- Sterilize the scalpel or other tool you will be using to remove the mushroom spores. Do this by holding it over a flame until red-hot, and then allow it to cool.
- Scrape the mushroom spores from the paper or slide into the beaker. There should be enough spores to be visible in the water.
- Use the syringes to collect the mushroom spore suspension. The syringes can be capped and kept in the refrigerator for several months.
Some mushrooms have tiny spore jets that forcibly eject spores; these can be harvested by placing the cap in a jar and waiting about 24 hours.
Keep contaminants and air currents away from your work area when harvesting mushroom spores.