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What are some basic terms and equipment used in mushroom cultivation? | Mushroom cultivation | Biobritte farming

What are some basic terms and equipment used in mushroom cultivation?

Growing mushrooms is quite a bit different from growing plants, so it can certainly seem confusing at first!

But… once you start to learn a few terms, and try your hand at a few techniques, it all starts falling into place.

Mushroom cultivation training equipments

So, what are some of the basic things you need to know?

Let’s take a look at a few cultivation terms.

  • Mycelium

This can be thought of as the “roots” of the mushroom, even though not technically accurate. Mycelium is the vegetative part of the mushroom, absorbing nutrients as it grows over substrates or grain. Eventually, under the right conditions, mycelium forms little knots, which eventually turns into mushroom fruiting bodies.

In the forest, you can easily find mycelium growing under moss, or through piles of decaying matter. It is most often white and stringy, although many different forms of mycelium exist.

  • Culture

When used in cultivation, mycelium is often referred to as a culture, similar to a bacterial culture on a petri dish in the science laboratory. Mycelium in a test tube is called a “culture slant” (for storing the culture), mycelium grown in liquid is referred to as a “liquid culture”.

  • Strain

In commercial cultivation, certain mushroom cultures have been developed through selection to exhibit certain desirable traits. For example, the Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes) is one species of mushroom, but it is available in a number of different strains. Some strains are better for growing in warmer weather, some strains are able to grow on straw instead of hardwood, some strains are more productive, etc.

  • Colonization

Colonization is the process of mycelium growing through a nutrient source, such as grain or hardwood. When the mycelium has completely grown through the substrate, we call it “fully colonized.”

  • Spawn

Spawn can be thought of as the “seeds” for mushroom cultivation. Spawn is most often made by allowing a mushroom culture to propagate through sterilized grain (rye, sorghum, millet, etc.) until the grain is completely covered in the mycelium. This “grain spawn” is then added to bulk organic material (see substrate below) in order to grow mushrooms. Spawn can also be made from hardwood sawdust, which is known as “sawdust spawn.”

You can either make grain spawn yourself, or purchase it pre-made.

  • Substrate

A substrate is an organic material like straw, hardwood sawdust, or manure that when properly prepared can be inoculated with mushroom spawn. Eventually, the spawn will propagate through the substrate, and eventually fruit mushrooms.

Check out this article to learn all about mushroom substrates.

  • Yield and Biological Efficiency

Yield is the number of fresh mushrooms harvested from the growing process. Biological efficiency (BE) is the ratio of freshly harvested mushrooms to dry substrate. For example, if 20 lbs of mushrooms were harvested from a straw log that was made from 20 lbs of straw, the Biological Efficiency would be 100%. Because BE uses a dry weight of the substrate, it is possible (and common) to get BE’s greater than 100%. For more clarification, I have written an article about this topic here.

  • Pasteurization

Pasteurization is the process of reducing levels of contamination of a substrate so that the mushroom culture can proliferate when the spawn is added. Pasteurization does not completely kill all the organisms in the substrate but reduces the numbers enough for the mushroom mycelium to get a foothold. It is often down with hot water (between 65–82 deg C) or steam at atmospheric pressure. You can also “pasteurize” a substrate in cold water with pH-altering additives.

  • Sterilization

This is the process of completely killing all microorganisms in a substrate. It is often used for more nutritious substrates like supplemented hardwood sawdust. Sterilization is achieved by placing substrates in an autoclave or pressure cooker at 15 PSI for 2–4 hours.

There are many more terms to learn, but that should give you a good start. You can also check out this glossary!


Of course, growing mushrooms requires some specialized equipment. What you need to know varies wildly whether you are growing at home for fun, or growing on a commercial scale.

  • Pressure Cooker or Autoclave

This is a critically important piece of equipment for growing mushrooms. Pressure cookers are often used for home grows and small-scale farms. An autoclave is a large vessel that can be pressurized with steam to sterilize substrate at larger farming operations.

  • Lab Equipment

There is a variety of different equipment needed for a mushroom lab. This can include:

Laminar Flow Hood: A filter and fan combo that provides a sterile stream of air. Necessary for growing doing any sort of culture work.

Agar: A seaweed-derived powder used to make a nutrified media for Petri dishes and master culture slants.

Parafilm: A wax material used to seal the edges of Petri dishes and the top of culture slants.

There is a lot more equipment that you might need for a functional mushroom lab. You can read about the other equipment here.

  • Shotgun Fruiting Chamber

This is often used for a small growing chamber for home cultivation. It is essentially just a clear tote that has numerous holes drilled throughout and is filled with moist perlite. It works well for small home grows and is used for those not wanting to build a dedicated grow room.


I hope that gave you some insight into the basic terms and equipment needed for mushroom cultivation. As with any hobby or skill, there is so much more to learn.

If you really want to go down the rabbit hole, please stop by, where I like to share everything I know about growing mushrooms.

You can buy all types of mushroom products from the Biobritte cart.

For more info contact at

Contact on a phone or Whatsapp 9923806933 or 7709709816.

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