How to clone mushrooms

How to Clone Mushrooms Using Agar

Mushroom cultivation is an art and science intertwined, allowing enthusiasts and professionals alike to delve into the world of mycology. Using agar plates, you can clone mushrooms to ensure genetic consistency and increase the yield of your favorite strains.

1. Gather Your Supplies

Before diving into the cloning process, ensure you have the following essentials:

  • Sterile agar plates
  • A mushroom specimen (preferably a fresh one)
  • Sterile scalpel or blade
  • Sterile gloves
  • Alcohol wipes
  • A laminar flow hood or still air box

2. Prepare Your Workspace

“Cleanliness is next to godliness,” is a phrase often attributed to John Wesley. This couldn’t be truer when working with mushrooms.

  • Clean your workspace thoroughly using a disinfectant.
  • Set up your laminar flow hood or still air box.
  • Light a Bunsen burner or alcohol lamp to maintain a sterile environment.

3. Choosing the Right Mushroom Tissue

Select a healthy-looking mushroom, free from contamination. Always use the best specimens for cloning.

  • Cut the stem of the mushroom to expose the inner tissue.
  • The inner tissue is less exposed to contaminants, making it ideal for cloning.

4. Transfer the Mushroom Tissue to Agar Plate

Wearing sterile gloves, follow these steps:

  • Flame-sterilize the scalpel or blade.
  • Cut a small piece of the inner mushroom tissue.
  • Gently transfer the tissue onto the center of the agar plate.
  • Seal the plate using parafilm or micropore tape.

5. Incubate the Agar Plates

  • Store the agar plates in a dark and warm place, ideally between 75-80°F (24-27°C).
  • Monitor the plates for mycelium growth and any signs of contamination.
  • Within a week or so, you should see white, fluffy mycelium expanding from the tissue sample.

6. Monitor and Transfer

After a few weeks, the mycelium will have colonized the entire plate. As Benjamin Franklin wisely stated, “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” Regular monitoring is essential.

  • Check for any signs of contamination.
  • Once fully colonized, you can use this mycelium to inoculate grain jars or other substrates.

7. Store or Expand

If you’re not ready to use the colonized agar, you can store it in a refrigerator. However, if you’re planning to expand your mycelium, transfer pieces of the colonized agar to new plates or substrates.

8. Growing Out the Specimen

Growing out the specimen is the exciting phase where you see your cloned mushroom come to life.

  • Choose a substrate suitable for your mushroom species. Common substrates include grains, straw, and wood chips.
  • Inoculate the substrate with pieces of the colonized agar.
  • Keep the inoculated substrate in optimal conditions, ensuring appropriate moisture, temperature, and light as needed by the species.
  • In time, you’ll see mushrooms fruiting from the substrate. Remember, as Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Patience is crucial in this phase.
  • Harvest the mushrooms when they reach maturity, ensuring not to disturb the mycelium for potential future flushes.


Cloning mushrooms using agar is an effective way to ensure genetic consistency and to preserve unique strains of mushrooms. By following the outlined steps and maintaining a sterile environment, even beginners can achieve successful results. Remember, as you embark on this journey, “The only source of knowledge is experience,” a timeless quote from Albert Einstein. With every cloning attempt, you’ll gain experience and improve your skills in the world of mycology. Happy cloning!


  • It is important to use sterile materials to prevent contamination.
  • Be careful not to touch the mycelium with your bare hands.
  • If the mycelium grows too quickly, it may be over-crowded and will not produce good results.
  • It may take several attempts to isolate the desired genetics.


  • If the mycelium does not grow, it may be due to contamination or improper sterilization.
  • If the mycelium grows too slowly, it may be due to a lack of nutrients or a cool temperature.
  • If the mycelium grows in a different shape or color than the original culture, it may be due to mutation.

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