Mycology Acronyms & Abbreviations to help you along on your mushroom journey. If you notice there isn’t one listed that you think should be please send us an email at email@example.com and let us know. We would love to hear from you.
• BE – Biological Efficiency
Biological Efficiency is a calculation to demonstrate how efficient a strain/species is with a specific substrate. For example, if you harvest 5 lbs of mushrooms from 5 lbs of substrate you have reached 100% biological efficiency.
• BRF – Brown Rice Flour
Brown Rice Flour is a nutrient-rich supplement that mushroom cultivators can add to their substrates. BRF is most famously used in BRF Cakes.
• Coir – Coco Coir
Coconut coir, Coco Coir, or Coconut Fiber as I have become accustomed to calling it. I use to buy this a lot when I kept pet frogs. This is a fantastic bulk substrate that is good for secondary decomposing fungi. We’ve had great success using coconut fiber mixed with horse manure to produce portobello mushrooms.
• FAE – Fresh Air Exchange
Fresh air exchange is important for growing mushrooms. Fungi breathe oxygen like animals do so it is important to introduce oxygen into the fruiting chamber or room. Fresh air exchange refers to exhausting CO2 and introducing Oxygen.
Having too much CO2 accumulate in your fruiting area can cause mushrooms to look “leggy”. This is when they grow with longer stems and smaller caps.
• FC – Fruiting Chamber
A Fruiting Chamber is the room, tent, or container used to “fruit” or initiate fruitbody formations after your substrate is fully colonized by the mycelium. The fruiting chamber is where you set the environmental conditions preferred by the particular species or strain to initiate fruitbody formation.
The fully colonized substrate is placed inside the fruiting chamber where preferred conditions are set to produce mushrooms.
• G1 – Generation 1
We also call this first gen and it is usually a reference to spawn to let the cultivator know how much it has been expanded. Grain spawn that has been made from a culture is G1 or first-gen.
If you perform a G2G and expand G1 grain spawn by distributing small amounts into newly prepared grains it becomes G2 and so forth.
There is some debate on how far you can expand grain spawn. It is our preference to not expand any further than G3.
• G2G – Grain to Grain
Grain to grain is when you transfer fully colonized grain into newly prepared grains for the purpose of expanding your grain spawn. For example, let’s say you have one jar of G1 grain spawn and you want to expand it further.
You can then prepare several more jars of prepped grains. Break up the grain spawn in G1 jar and distribute a little at a time into each newly prepared jar of grains. After expanding G1 into the new jars they are now G2.
• GB – Glove Box
A glove box is typically a box that is completely transparent or at least has a glass window to allow the cultivator to see into the box. This box has two holes with gloves affixed to them. When the cultivator reaches his arms inside the contents of the box are not exposed to his hands, clothing, etc.
These boxes are sometimes equipped with small HEPA filters on one side and a small fan on the other. The fan blows air out of the glove box while pulling air through the HEPA filter. I’ve also seen these equipped with UV lights to keep the air sterile inside.
A word of caution about UV lights. I’ve known some people who have damaged their eyes and skin because of UV lights. Always take the necessary safety precautions.
• GE – Gas Exchange
Gas Exchange is the exchange of respiratory gases. Fungi breathe oxygen and release CO2.
• GE Port – Gas Exchange Port
A Gas Exchange Port is a filtered opening that allows gasses to move in and out. This can be a hole in a jar lid that’s stuffed with polyfill or has a synthetic filter disc under or on top of the jar lid to filter gases coming in.
This is can also be a hole in an autoclavable bag that is fitted with a filter patch to filter incoming gases. The purpose of the GE port is to allow sufficient gas exchange with filtered gas to help keep your substrate from becoming contaminated.
• HEPA – High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance
Also known as High-Efficiency Particulate Air or High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing. Now there is a bit of science behind how HEPA filtration works, I will save that for another blog post.
HEPA is related to mycology because it is used in Laminar Flow Hoods. A laminar flow hood is a device that pulls air into a box and forces it through a HEPA filter that filters the air down to .3 microns. This produces a steady flow of sterile air over your work area so that you can work with sterile media reducing the chances of contamination.
HEPA filtration is also used as a pre-filter for sterile labs aka clean rooms.
• LC – Liquid Culture
Liquid cultures are fragmented mycelium suspended in a nutrient liquid medium. A lot of times cultivators will opt to purchase liquid cultures over petri dish cultures because of their ease of use.
The liquid culture will usually come loaded into a 10 – 12 ml syringe with a 1.5” needle. Cultivators will sterilize the needle with a flame and inject the liquid culture directly into their sterile media.
Beginners will usually inoculate sterilized grains to make grain spawn and more experienced cultivators will transfer tiny amounts of the liquid culture onto newly poured dishes of nutrient agar. This is because liquid cultures are typically less expensive than petri dish cultures or slants.
Also, a more experienced hand likes to see the culture grow out on a two-dimensional surface to check for contaminants. Sometimes cleaning a culture is necessary.
• MEA – Malt Extract Agar
Malt Extract Agar is a nutrient medium used in petri dishes for making cultures. The malt extract is a sugar usually made with barley. This extract is the food source for the fungi while living in the petri dish.
Agar is a red seaweed extract, when added to water and sterilized at high temps it stays in liquid form. When it cools and reaches room temperature it becomes firm with a consistency similar to gelatin. This makes it ideal for culture work. Mycelium grows easily on the surface and cultivator can easily place or extract tissue with a sterilized scalpel.
MEA is a common petri dish medium for fungal cultures. PDA – Potato Dextrose Agar is another. You may see acronyms like AMEA which is Antibiotic Malt Extract Agar which comes with an antibiotic in the mixture to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Please note that not all agar is created equally. Always pay attention to gel strength. A weak gel strength will not solidify completely and will become a loose liquid gel inside the petri dish and will be unusable.
Although agar has a similar consistency to gelatin, gelatin is not a suitable substitution.
• MS – Multi-Spore
Multi-Spore usually references a Multi-Spore Inoculation. This is a spore solution that has been made with spores from the desired species of fungi added to sterile water. This usually gets loaded into a 10 -12 ml syringe and comes with a 1.5″ needle.
A Multi-Spore Inoculation means that the spore solution is injected directly into a substrate. Typical substrates for this type of inoculation are WBS – Wild Bird Seed, BRF – Brown Rice Flour cakes, or prepared grains for making grain spawn.
The inoculation types listed above or usually methods for beginners. The reason a multi-Spore Inoculation may not be a good idea is that it’s a gamble on what your end result will be. If you’re just starting out and learning it will suffice but if you stick with it you are going to want to work with isolated genetics.
If we work with Multi-Spore techniques at Organic Galaxy it is for the sole purpose of isolating new strains of gourmet species. There are two ways a strain can be isolated and preserved.
One method is wild cloning. This is when you find a nice fruitbody out in nature. You bring it back to your lab and transfer tissue samples on to petri dishes with nutrient agar.
Another method is by producing pure culture strains. This is when spores are germinated in Petri dishes on nutrient agar and you identify the different strains that begin to grow.
The idea is to find the strongest strain(s) and isolate them on to their own dish. You’ll want to identify strains that have a good balance between yield and fruitbody size.
Check out this post to learn more about the difference between liquid cultures and multi spore. Liquid Culture vs Spore Syringe.
• Myc – Mycelium
Mycelium is the mother of it all. You will want to understand mycelium as best you can. You will want to get to know the genetics strains in your culture library. They have preferences and sometimes these preferences will vary from strain to strain of the same species. Get to know your cultures.
Mycelium is the vegetative part of the fungus. It is synonymous with an apple to an apple tree. The tree itself is the vegetative part of the plant and the apple is reproductive fruit. Mycelium is the vegetative part of the fungus and the mushroom is the reproductive fruitbody.
Mycelium is composed of tiny thread-like filaments called hyphae. Hyphae branch out, network, and intertwine together. What we see with the naked eye appears to be a solid mycelial mat. But when we zoom in with a microscope we can see the vast network of highways and channels that are used to transport water, nutrients, and information.
• PC – Pressure Cooker
A pressure cooker is a pot with an airtight lid that is used to produce pressurized steam. For mycology purposes the pressurized steam inside a pressure cooker is used to sterilize media for growing mycelium.
Agar, grains, supplemented sawdust, etc are placed inside a pressure cooker and sterilized at 15 PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) Which brings the internal temperature of the pressure cooker to about 250° F.
The idea is to kill off any other organisms that may already be living on your grow media before adding your selected fungi to it.
• RH – Relative Humidity
Relative Humidity, to put it simply, is the amount of water vapor present in the air. It is expressed as a percentage to let you know how much moisture is in the air compared to how much there could be.
• SAB – Still Air Box
A Still Air Box is a box that is typically clear on all sides. It has two holes in the front where the cultivator can reach their hands inside to perform sterile work.
Most beginners start with a SAB because of how affordable they can be. A clear plastic tote can be picked up at a local store for sometimes less than $10. You can either cut or melt holes in the front on your own and you’ve constructed your own SAB.
There are some who might call this a beginner’s box but I know plenty of cultivators who only work with a SAB even after years of mycology experience. It all comes down to doing what works for you.
• SGFC – Shot Gun Fruiting Chamber
Ah, to be young. A Shotgun Fruiting Chamber is typically a plastic tote that is clear on all sides. 1/4″ holes are drilled into all sides of the plastic 2″ apart. This particular terrarium is typically used for BRF cakes.
You fill the bottom of the terrarium with hydrated perlite. Then you place the BRF cakes inside the terrarium on top of the perlite, usually with 2×2″ leaflets of aluminum foil in between the cake and the perlite.
• SFD – Synthetic Filter Disc
Synthetic Filter Discs are round filters that fit in jar lids. They allow gas exchange while minimizing the risk of contamination. The material the filters are made from can vary.
• Tek – Technique
My least favorite of all the abbreviations. It means technique. There is not much else to say about it.
• WBS – Wild Bird Seed
Wild Bird Seed can be used to make grain spawn. When starting out its not easy finding rye grains or something suitable to use in smaller amounts. Rye grains can be bought in 50 lbs bags at feed stores but if you are just trying your hand at this you may not want to go all out just yet.
Wild Bird Seed is a suitable choice because you find it in 5, 10, 20 lbs bags. This way you can kid yourself into thinking you have some self-control and that mushrooms aren’t going to take over your life.
This post is alive.
This list of Mycology Acronyms & Abbreviations is not necessarily complete and I will be keeping it up to date. In other words, this blog post is a living document because it is always subject to change.
If you see an acronym or abbreviation not listed and you think it should be then please send me a quick note via email or messenger.