How To Make Your Own Spore-Filled Syringe

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How To Make Your Own Spore-Filled Syringe

With this method we are going to create a clean and contaminant-free spore filled syringe. The syringe will be filled with heated and sterilized water and allowed to cool. The spores will then be transferred from spore print into the syringe solution using a cleaned and sanitized shot glass. At the completion of this Tek you will have created a spore solution syringe ready for use in any microscopy application.

These instructions are most effective when performed in the most sterile environment available. The preferred method involves following the steps below while working in a clean and sterile glovebox or in front of a laminar flow hood. There are many simple methods of glovebox construction; most are available on the web at popular mycological culture websites. If you do not wish to construct a glovebox, or do not have one, the following steps have been performed with success by working on a thoroughly cleaned and sanitized countertop. Liberal use of spray disinfectant and diluted bleach solution is recommended for cleaning and sanitizing the work area.

Materials needed:
Empty sterile syringes
Two quart (or larger) cooking pot
One bottle of 91% isopropyl alcohol
Several paper towels
A lighter or alcohol flame
A shot glass
Sterile spore print


Spore prints are collections of spores taken on a sterile medium - sterilized paper, for instance - under sterile conditions. The spores are collected by placing a mature mushroom cap on the medium and allowing the cap to release spores. The spores then adhere to the surface of the medium after drying and form a "print" as pictured above.

Prints may be utilized in agar culturing methods or to create sterile spore syringes.

1. First clean your work area. This may involve wiping down all work surfaces with a diluted bleach solution and spraying the area liberally with a disinfectant such as Lysol.

2. Place the following materials in your glovebox or on the cleaned and sanatized working surface: The shot glass, your cooled syringes, the bottle of alcohol, a paper towel, your print (still in zip-lock baggie) and the lighter or alcohol flame.

3. Wash hands with antibacterial soap before proceeding further.

4. Fold the paper towel up into sections and soak a corner of it with the alcohol.

5. With the alcohol soaked towel wipe the interior of the shot glass, essentially sterilizing the surface you are about to use in the transfer. Allow the shot glass to air dry, should only take a few seconds.

6. Remove the needle guard from your sterile syringe and flame sterilize the needle. Then take your alcohol soaked paper towel and wipe the needle to further aid in the sterilization. Try to avoid letting the needle touch any other surface unless otherwise instructed to do so.

7. NOTE: it is important at this point to work as quickly as possible to help combat the chances of contaminating molds and bacteria falling into your work area and thereby ruining your syringe.

8. Remove the print from its storage baggie. Unfold it to expose the spores. Lightly begin to scrape, using the needle of the syringe, a section of the print off into the shot glass. For a medium sized print it is usually adequate to scrape off a section no larger than 1/5 of the total print.

9. You will have a small noticeable collection of spores in the shot glass. Now expunge no more than half of the water from the syringe into the shot glass, lightly stirring the spores into the solution.

10. Suck the spore water solution into the syringe. You may need to expunge some more water into the shot glass and re-suck to help in capturing all the spores into the syringe.

11. Once you have the spore solution back into the syringe you should notice that the water inside has become slightly tinted and you may see small clusters of spores floating in the solution. This is good, you have completed the process.

12. Sterilize the needle again with the alcohol soaked paper towel, replace the needle guard and place the syringe back into your clean zip-lock bag.

13. Allow the syringe to sit for no less than 12 hours before using in microscopy application or inoculation for edible varieties. The older the print used, the more "dehydrated" the spores will become. For proper microscopy observation or germination, the spores will need to be allowed to rehydrate.

Sterilizing A Used Spore Syringe

Materials needed:
Used or a non-sterile empty syringe
Two quart (or larger) saucepan
One bottle of 91% isopropyl alcohol and a cup to pour it into.
A lighter or alcohol flame

1. Fill your saucepan halfway with tap or distilled water (use distilled water if your tap water contains higher levels of minerals and chemicals).
2. Boil the water in the saucepan on high for a minimum of ten minutes, this should be adequate to sterilize and cleans the water of all bacteria and viruses.
3. Take your empty syringe and fill it with the boiling water. Allow it to sit for two minutes with the hot water inside.
4. Purge the hot water from the syringe into a sink, not back into the saucepan.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 two more times...so it is empty of water.
6. Place the syringe in a small cup of 91% alcohol and suck-up the alcohol into the syringe. Leave the syringe needle submersed in the alcohol and place it all into your Glove Box.

The needle is now clean and ready to be used. Just make sure that you eject all of the alcohol that is within the syringe back into the cup and wipe the needle with an alcohol soaked paper towel. Take a lighter and flame the needle for a few seconds before using it.

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