Liquid Culture vs Spore Syringe? What is it with these two? For a seasoned mycologist or cultivator, there really is no question. The culture reigns supreme. But for those starting out this can be a tricky area. It can also be tricky for those with experience. Just because a vendor says it’s a culture, doesn’t always mean you’re getting what you might think.
Before we get too deep I want to discuss the obvious difference between the two. Liquid cultures are sterile water or nutrient-rich broth that contains fragmented mycelium. The mycelium is in tiny pieces suspended in a sterile liquid.
Liquid Culture vs Spore Syringe
High-quality liquid cultures are prepared from an isolated strain. When multiple strains are present on the same substrate they become competitive. This can give you varying results in your mushroom flushes later on. Eventually, you are going to want consistency and isolated strains will give you that.
A spore syringe is a solution of fungal spores floating in sterile water. Like liquid cultures, if you purchase one it usually comes loaded in a 10 ml syringe with a Luer Lock needle. Typically beginners would order one of these from the internet and inject it directly into a sterile substrate. It is a fantastic way for someone to get their first step on their mushroom journey.
Now, some people just stick to this. They become perfectly content with mediocrity and never want anything more or less. If they are happy, just leave them be. Some stop after this and walk away. They’ve decided mushroom cultivation isn’t for them and they move on.
But then, you have us. those who research and practice. The ones who want to step out of our comfort zones, hone our skills, and be the best of the best. You want to be the one that steps into a room where someone says “I know that person and they are a friggin’ wizard.”
Step your game up.
If you’ve come to understand this about yourself and are still only working with spores. It is time to step it up. You can isolate strains with spores but you have to get used to working with agar and Petri dishes. If you haven’t already check out my blog titled “Liquid Cultures vs Agar Dishes“. If you are still working with syringes and aren’t comfortable with the next level yet then know what kind of liquid culture you are getting.
In my opinion, a true liquid culture will always be an isolated strain. When you order a mushroom culture in a petri dish or slant it’s always isolated. Why can’t the same be said for liquid cultures? I mentioned high-quality liquid cultures earlier. Low-quality liquid cultures are nutrient-rich liquid that is used to germinate spores. This multispore germination is then loaded into syringes and sold to people looking for cultures.
Don’t fall for the crap.
This can be very confusing because it’s called a liquid culture. When really it’s multispore which creates a liquid culture with a lot of strains inhabiting the same area. Competition is guaranteed.
A Multispore is also a roll of the dice. You have no consistency with harvests using this method. It’s kind of like a random strain generator and you just have to roll with whatever you got. If you’re lucky the genetics are great but a lot of times they’re not.
A multistrain liquid culture is equivalent to a spore syringe. To me, they are the same thing. They both provide random results. The only differences between these two are corn syrup and somebody spent way too much time making one of them.
Look for liquid cultures that are a single strain. If you are not sure, contact your vendor. If they are reputable they will probably tell you the truth. The vendors don’t seem to know the difference should be avoided. They are most likely new to the field and are very unskilled.
Now ya know!
So, now you know the difference. Also, you know that a true liquid culture prepared from an isolated strain will produce consistent results. A spore syringe will germinate and produce various strains that will produce random results. Going multispore is always a roll of the dice.