What is contamination?
Anything we are not intending to grow on the agar plate we are working with.*
Unlike plants, mushrooms do not thrive in a competitive environment, especially in the early stages. Even the strongest fungus is no match for common mold and bacteria, and it is for this reason, we must start mycelium colonies (young fungus) isolated from all other microorganisms. Any organism besides the target strain we are attempting to grow is considered a "contaminate" of the substrate. All contaminated substrate must be tossed, so we want to prevent contamination.
There are many ways to define contamination. There is medical contamination, food contamination, biological contamination the list goes on. Simply put by our team of mycologists;
Contamination occurs when bacteria, molds, or other microorganisms come into contact with your agar and uses the available nutrition to grow and multiply. Which is the same thing fungi does, so that puts them in direct competition.
It isn't that simple though. There are so many types of bacteria and molds, as well as many ways to define them. We are constantly working to compile more information for you and educate ourselves to be able to better answer your questions.
Don't hesitate to reach out and we will always be here to help.
Here's some tips we have to casually stick to when starting out, it's better to be safe than sorry. We are not giving you directions or telling you what to do with our gourmet mushroom samples we are simply giving you information about the most common contamination in a way that we feel is easy to skim through.
Black spots is usually black pin mold, mold commonly found on bread when you forget it's there.
Orange-red areneurospore is a bread mold similar to black bread mold, simply more colorful due to higher moisture available to the pin molds.
Green Mold-Trichoderma it is persistent, aggressive, and easy to identify. it starts as an off-white spot then olive green, and eventually is a dark green as it takes over everything in it's path.
If your bag smells sour through the port, it is unmistakable, take a second look at the bag if it looks somewhere between milky and slimy, smell it again. (got ya nothing's changed it's still got sour rot.) Your bag has the most common type of bacterial infection, Bacillus spp., also known as “wet spot” or “sour rot.” Proper preparation of your grains before sanitation can activate germination of this bacteria before sterilization rendering the endospores susceptible to standard sterilization practices and unable to reproduce.
Black mold appears slimy black or highly dark gray, like black crayons on paper. It is a common issue in many US houses.