Why Genetics Are Important In Mushroom Cultivation

Learn about why genetics are important in mushroom cultivation. You might have the best substrate recipes and grow room conditions but it might not be enough.

An often-overlooked reason you’re not getting the fruitbody development you seek is due to genetics. Genes are the basic units of biological information. They contain a genetic code that sets the rules for how the organism is to be structured.

Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins. The genetic code determines the sequences of amino acids which also determines how proteins are structured. Proteins are responsible for nearly all activities of cellular life.

If you are producing inadequate fruits and minimal yields genetics could be the cause. Especially if you are preparing the most efficient substrates combined with optimal environmental conditions.

The best substrates and environmental conditions only set the stage for the strain to produce to the best of its ability. If the biological information within the strain doesn’t have the code to instruct the organism to produce large fruits with abundant yields, then it’s not going to happen. Regardless of your skill level as a cultivator.

This is why genetics are important in mushroom cultivation. It takes a certain level of skill and the proper genetics within a strain to be a successful commercial cultivator.

Be selective about your cultures.

All strains are not created equal. Reach out to culture vendors and speak with them. What knowledge do they possess about their strain collection? What kind of understanding do they have about mushroom species in general? Do they understand senescence and cellular degradation?

Get to know those who produce cultures. Find a vendor you can trust. If you are going to be growing mushrooms for profit then you need access to strains with desirable genetics that can produce the yields you need.

You wouldn’t just buy a lawyer’s services over the internet without consulting with them first. The same with a doctor. If you are working in the field of mycology it should be no different for your culture vendor.

It is perfectly reasonable to be on a first-name basis and have open lines of communication in regards to the strains they offer.

“What if I reach out and they don’t respond?” Then move on. It’s not worth it to find out the hard way. You are spending good money to invest in your mycological career.

Unfortunately, there are culture vendors that prey on newcomers that don’t know any better. They bait them in with fancy marketing terms and low prices. I’ve witnessed time and again cultivators who blame themselves for poor results when it was the weak genetics of the strains.

It’s okay to be picky and it’s okay to develop a trusting relationship with your culture vendor. If they give you a hard time, seem nervous, or appear to lack knowledge they don’t deserve you.

What are your thoughts on selecting the right genetics for commercial cultivation?

3 Responses

  1. I agree Tobias, there is a lot to think about when it comes to actually optimizing your cultivation potential. A lot of people do everything right and still get good results, but they’re not fantastic. Having a better culture ultimately means you will be a more efficient grower, which saves you time and money. Let’s be honest, two things we can always use more of. So even small scale growers in a pinch will need to find how to optimize their situation because they want to make the best of what money they have. Having good genetics will help you to learn what you have done right and what you have done wrong as well as a beginner. Because good genetics are proven commercial cultures, you can deduce what went wrong in your process, rather than wondering whether it is a weak culture or your technique that is causing problems when you get an unsubstantial flush, or none at all… While commercial growers also need to consider this in order to maximize production and reduce labor. Being able to utilize all of your current space in a small business is key to expansion as well, which is why I think it is always useful to shop around to try out what works best in your room. I see a lot of people just try one company, or strain because they have had success with it, but unless you are having tremendous results, I would keep looking to see if anything is better. Yes, it costs money and takes some time to find a better culture, but that investment will save you more time and money down the road. Not to mention, it puts your mind at ease when you are coasting on the commercial front.

    Since fungi and mushrooms are growing as an industry and in our culture, we are starting to see more and more fungi related products out there. Especially in terms of home cultivation, which is why I think Tobias brought up a good point. A lot of people are out to make some money off of newcomers, it happens everywhere. There will be people that know just enough to sell you a product and it’s always a good idea to get recommendations or referrals from reputable sources. The sad part about this is that it can discourage people who are beginning. If someone’s technique isn’t thorough, or they don’t test their own products, then it will hinder the consumers success. Depressingly, this causes people to get frustrated and quit trying their hand at mushroom cultivation. So the more you try to understand about what you are buying, the better. People will try to sell you cheap stuff, but like in any other industry, it’s usually worth paying a little bit more in order to ensure success.

    Anyway, I hope this helps people when they are pulling the trigger on buying a culture, or contemplating whether the culture you have is the right one for you.

  2. I want my blogs to be more discussion-based from now on. So I will be activating the comments sections for all future posts. I hope to hear from you!

    1. Thanks Tobias for this educational blog! I am trying to learn as much as possible without spending too much on the trial and error process as I step into this amazing world of mycology. Growing up I thought fungus was bad and that stuff on people’s toes that you had to pay lots to get rid of. Paul Stamets is my first reference when buying books on this subject, so I think I got that part right. But, I loved listening to Terence McKenna when he mysteriously appeared in my YouTube Algorithm somehow. So, here I am about to start growing from the level of injection of substrate. Quick question: what are some known blog/web areas for a new grower to connect with where surfing through might help me get up and running with a level of success? I am not a big fan of wasting time on the nameless platforms with blue letters of the alphabet unless someone refers me there. LOL thanks for the resources here. Between yours and Paul Stamets’ work, I think I am starting out ok.

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