- Prepare the substrate: The mushroom substrate typically consists of organic materials such as sawdust, straw, or compost. Mix the substrate ingredients according to the desired recipe or mushroom species requirements.
- Fill sterilization bags: Fill autoclave-safe bags or containers with the substrate mixture. Ensure the bags are not overfilled to allow for proper steam circulation during autoclaving.
- Seal the bags: Seal the bags using a heat sealer or autoclave-safe closures to prevent contamination during sterilization.
- Load the autoclave: Place the sealed bags of substrate into the autoclave chamber, ensuring they are spaced apart to allow steam to penetrate evenly.
- Add water: Add distilled or sterilized water to the autoclave chamber to generate steam. The amount of water added should be sufficient to produce the required steam pressure.
- Set autoclave parameters: Set the autoclave parameters based on the type of substrate and mushroom species. This includes the temperature, pressure, and sterilization time. Commonly, temperatures of around 121°C (250°F) at a pressure of 15 psi are used for mushroom substrate sterilization.
- Start the autoclave: Begin the autoclave cycle and allow the sterilization process to commence. The autoclave will heat the chamber, generating steam and maintaining the desired pressure and temperature for the specified duration.
- Cooling and ventilation: Once the sterilization cycle is complete, allow the autoclave to cool down before opening the chamber. Proper ventilation is essential to prevent condensation and potential contamination when removing the bags.
- Incubation: After sterilization, the substrate bags can be inoculated with mushroom spores or mycelium. Follow the specific instructions for your mushroom species regarding inoculation techniques and incubation conditions.
Note: It’s important to refer to specific mushroom cultivation guides or consult with experienced growers for precise instructions on sterilization and cultivation techniques as they may vary depending on the mushroom species and substrate composition.