So you just got your mushroom spores or liquid culture from Inoculate The World but now you’re probably wondering on how to store them to ensure their longevity. Here is everything you need to know about storing spores and liquid cultures!
How Long Can Spores Last In Storage?
Spores are quite resilient and can survive in many environments, including space! With proper storage, spores can last for decades and still remain viable for microscopy research.
How To Store Spores From ITW
If you purchased your spores from us at Inoculate The World, you are already set up for success since we take extra care in packaging your spores so that they remain healthy and uncontaminated.
Storing Spores Before Use
Once you get your spores, it is recommended to keep your spores sealed in their original packaging until you are ready to use them. Since Inoculate The World spores are packaged in a sterile environment, leaving the packaging closed until they are ready to be used is a good way to ensure the spores stay contamination free.
Seal Your Spores
To get the longest lifespan out of your spores, seal your spores in an airtight container to expand shelf life. Keeping your spores in a sealed container protects them from oxygen, moister, and contamination.
Some recommended containers include: vacuum sealed bags, mason jars, or airtight kitchen containers. Make sure the container is clean before putting your spores inside.
You may also choose to place a desiccant packet in the container to absorb any moisture that may be present in the container.
Store in a Cool Dry Place
It is best to keep your spores in a room that does not vary widely in temperature. If temperatures get too hot or too cold, it may damage the spores and prevent them from being viable for research. We recommend keeping your spores between 36 and 75 degrees. Remember that in nature, these mushrooms grow in temperatures as high as 115 degrees, so do not worry if they get too hot, but try to avoid it. Rooms that have doors leading to the outdoors are more likely to vary in temperature and may be more prone to contaminants.
Once you find your ideal room, you’ll want to consider where in the room to store your spores. It is recommended to keep them away from exterior walls or windows where fluctuations in temperature are greater.
Keep Out of Direct Sunlight
From there, you can place your sealed container in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. Cabinets, closets, or drawers are great spots to store your spores.
You can also place your container of spores in the refrigerator to help keep them cool and out of the sunlight. The temperature of the refrigerator should be between 36-46°F (2-8°C). This temperature range will keep the spores dormant, but not frozen. Refrigeration is optional though and is not necessary for storing your spores.
Repackaging Spores After Use For Long Term Storage
After you have used some of your spores, you may want to save the remaining spores for a later date. Certain types of packaging are easier to store than others.
Repackaging Spore Prints
Spore prints are the easiest to reseal and store for later use. Simply slide your spore print back into its original packaging and seal it back up. Wipe down the packaging with 70% isopropyl alcohol and place in a clean air tight storage container so that it is ready for future use.
Repackaging Spore Syringes
Partially used spore syringes can be stored in a refrigerator if you don’t use the whole syringe. However, it is recommended to use a full syringe at a time.
After using a portion of the spore syringe liquid, you can recap the needle and remove it from the syringe. Be sure to replace the luer lock cap so that your precious spore solution doesn’t leak!
Wipe down the syringe with 70% isopropyl alcohol and place in a clean air tight storage container so that it is ready for future use.
Repackaging Spore Swabs
Spore swabs are the hardest to save for additional use. It is recommended to toss your spore swab after each use to prevent contamination. However, if you do manage to save some spores on a spore swab, you can replace them in their packaging and store like a spore print or syringe. Wipe down the packaging with 70% isopropyl alcohol and place in a clean air tight storage container so that it is ready for future use.
Storing repackaged Spores
Once you repackage your spores and sterilize the outer packaging with rubbing alcohol, you can store them in the same dark, cool, dry place you had them previously.
Storing Liquid Cultures from ITW
Put in a container
Place your liquid culture in a plastic bag or other container to ensure the syringe stays protected and contamination free.
Store in your refrigerator
Liquid cultures and isolated syringes are best kept in your refrigerator to keep the mycelium dormant and last longer.
Storing after use
It is not recommended to save part of an isolated syringe or liquid culture for a later date. However, if you have a little left over, you can recap the needle and remove it from the syringe. Then replace the luer lock cap so that the liquid gold doesn’t leak.
How long can liquid cultures last in storage?
Liquid cultures don’t last quite as long as spores do. It is recommended to use your isolated syringe or liquid culture within 6 months of purchase to ensure it is as fresh and as healthy as possible. With that said, we have seen properly stored isolated syringes still viable after 2 years.