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Liquid Culture Instructions

Welcome to Liquid Culture Inoculation! The video above will explain everything you need to know about inoculating substrate bags using a liquid culture syringe. Below you will find some general 101 information about mycology.

Container & Substrate

The "substrate" is the medium you intend to grow the culture on, and the container is what is holding it. Professional mycologists typically use a petri dish as the initial container, and some form of agar (typically malt-dextrose) as the substrate. Recreational growers typically use quart mason jars as the container and hydrated rye berries or bird seed as the substrate.


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.

Two Parts to Clean

How do we keep what we want growing in the container and keep everything else out? We use a process to both ensure there is nothing living in the container when we begin, and to ensure we do not introduce anything to the substrate when we inoculate it with the syringe. Both of these are vitally important to success. For the best results, work should be done under a laminar flow hood or glove box, or in the cleanest (and most still) environment possible.

Preparing Substrate

In order to ensure nothing is living in the substrate when we inoculate it, we must put it through a sterilization process. While there are several ways to do this, most people use a pressure cooker. For quart sized mason jars, we should pressure cook them for 60 minutes at 15 psi. Be sure to let the jars fully cool inside the pressure cooker (you can leave them overnight). Once done, there is nothing living inside the jar, so treat it gently, and expose it to as little as possible. If you buy pre-sterilized bags from us, you can bypass doing this work yourself.