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ABC’s of Mycology Part 2

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Booming Acres here with another in our ABC’s of Mycology series! Today we’ll be exploring D, E, and F. To give an outline of these entries, D is for ‘Dikaryon’, E is for ‘Enoki’ (our first actual mushroom in the series!), and F is for ‘Flowhood or FFU’. Prepare yourself, we’ve got a lot of information ahead! 

D- Dikaryon

Put simply, a dikaryon is a stage in the life cycle of certain fungi where two genetically distinct haploid nuclei coexist within a single hyphal cell. Super simple, right? Well to make it actually simple, dikaryons are basically formed when two distinct genetics ‘mate’ and intertwine, typically between spores. This is the way most people are familiar with growing mushrooms, and this is the way that most mushrooms breed in nature, by forming dikaryons in our in the wild. 

Dikaryons are important when it comes to breeding because it allows for specific traits or phenotypes to be selected and bred for. Typically when breeding for dikaryons a diluted spore solution is made for two samples, then the two samples are mixed together, allowing for the opportunity of the spores from the genetically distinct varieties to intertwine, rather than just finding spores from the same variety and avoiding any breeding occurring. From this stage, a microscope can be used to confirm the presence of dikaryons and from there the dikaryon can be grown out. Finally fruits would be grown and the presence of the phenotypes or traits would be confirmed and the process can be repeated. 

Breeders who take the time to selectively mate their spores and ensure their genetics are breeding properly are going to be the best vendors to select your genetics from. They’re going to be the vendors with clean materials, interesting specimens to grow or study, and they’re going to stand by their work. We don’t do any breeding but we do recommend Full Canopy Genetics for all your genetic needs, they’re a great vendor who stand by their work and if used with our products, we warranty their materials as well. If you’re interested in breeding, we do sell agar which is an important tool for growing out the early mycelium and spores of your breeding projects, something that any breeder is going to need! 

E- Enoki

The first actual mushroom in our series! Enoki mushrooms are best known for their role in Asian cooking, namely in soup dishes such as ramen and kimchi stew. Enoki is a versatile mushroom, easy to grow, that comes in many different styles, ranging from small white clumps of mushrooms to medium sized golden colored fruits that are very appealing in any dish they’re served in. 

Recently there have been studies showing evidence that enoki mushrooms produce bioactive compounds that help fight cancer! These compounds are called sesquiterpenes and norsesquiterpenes and they have been shown to slow the growth of certain throat, liver, breast, stomach, lung, and cervical cancers. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19909827/) With the many benefits of Enoki for your health also come the great nutrient profile of this mushroom variety. Enoki mushrooms are high in amino acides, niacin, vitamin D, vitamin K and others, making them a great addition to a healthy diet. 

Enoki is typically grown in purpose made materials, usually jars with wide bases and thin openings at the tops. This allows the mushrooms to fruit from the top, growing in tight clusters that are easy to harvest, then put back into growing conditions for their next harvest. These materials aren’t necessary to grow enoki however, they grow perfectly fine in standard mushroom grow bags, with fruits usually appearing from the top of the grow block where the air is lower in CO2. Enoki are also usually grown to be taller, giving the appearance of a long stem and small cap. This give enoki a noodle-like consistency, which makes it perfect for soups and broths. Bringing a rich umami flavor to dishes along with beautiful colors, it’s easy to see why enoki is a favorite when it comes to cooking! 

F- Flowhoods and FFU’s

Flowhoods are an essential tool when it comes to growing mushrooms efficiently. When upgrading your mycology skills, moving from doing open air work, to a still air box, then finally to a flowhood of some sort, the differences are massive. Being able to put samples in front of a flowhood and know that they will remain clean is invaluable, this can help pinpoint causes of contamination in your grow, reduce your contamination rate, give you options for how you want to grow and what materials you want to work with, and make your work much easier overall. 

Flowhoods and FFU’s work using a blower fan to force air through a filter, with the air coming through the filter being ‘scrubbed’ and clean. With that air being clean of any particulate, bacteria, mold spores, etc, we can work in front of this flow of air with the assumption that there will be no contaminants added to whatever we’re working on. This means that we can work with material and do procedures that would otherwise attract or easily grow contaminants, such as open air grain transfers, agar, and spawning to nutritious substrate such as masters mix. Having a large area of air flow also means that we are not hindered to a small work space like when you’re working in a still air box. 

There are a lot of flowhoods on the market, all of them accomplish the same things but some have different features than others. The main features you want on a flowhood is an airspeed controller, a sturdy high quality filter, and a properly sized unit. You don’t want a small unit if you are planning on doing a lot of work in front of your flowhood, it’s better to plan appropriately, save money if necessary, and purchase the right size equipment for the work you intend to do. Having a good filter is also very important, you don’t want to get a thin filter that you will have to change out frequently, having a robust filter that has at least a rating of 99.999% particulate collection below .2 microns is a good starting point for flowhoods. Lastly being able to control your airspeed is very useful because you can set how large your work area will be. Having a high airspeed will lead to your filter needing changed more often, and having too low of an airspeed means you will have less area to work in. Keep these things in mind while shopping for flowhoods! 

There are different types of flowhoods, including laminar flowhoods and ‘ffu’s’. Laminar flowhoods tend to be a more expensive option, providing true laminar flow of air in the entire workspace, meaning that within the boundary of the unit (laminar flowhoods usually come built into cabinet units, or with walls on the tops and sides) the airflow will be steady and even throughout. This is a requirement when 100% of your projects absolutely must be clean, such as when dealing with biomedical research. The 3-4x price tag on these units compared to regular flowhoods or FFU’s make the difference between the two unnecessary when it comes to hobby growers, flowhoods and FFU’s will achieve a cleanliness rating of their filter meaning if you use a 99.999% efficiency filter, 1 particle out of 10,000 may get through the filter, you success rate will be 99.999%. FFU’s do not have laminar flow, meaning they may encounter some turbid air towards the sides of the unit. For hobbyists this is fine, we can simply work inside the area we know to be smooth flowing clean air and avoid working at the edges of the air flow. 

I hope that this summary of 3 new topics in our ABC’s of Mycology series has brought some interesting information to you! We’ll continue to release these informational series as the year progresses. If you have a topic you’d like covered please don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know! We can either answer your questions about a topic directly, or do a dive into the information and share it publicly! Thanks once again and mush love!!

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