Most of the time, substrate sterilization and air filtration will improve and sterilize your working environment. But not all these measures are completely successful. Some techniques will work well with other types of molds while others won’t. A careful study of the different kinds of mold infestations is therefore necessary.
Different kinds of mold contamination in mushrooms
To learn how to remove molds from your crops, you need to identify the different types of molds that could wreak havoc on your shrooms anytime. Here are the common mold species with corresponding ways how to deal and prevent each.
Cobweb mold (Dactylium mildew)
Cobweb molds are similar to strings of a fine web that envelopes casings as well as the mushrooms upon contact. This causes soft rot and could be very hard to remove. Cobweb molds are darker than the mycelium with a slight difference in color. Cobweb molds can cover the whole casing in just a matter of a day or two so it would be very tricky if you are not careful and patient in checking your crops. The contamination usually starts from a small, dime-sized patch and then proceeds to cover almost all the casings and the mushroom body.
Most of the time it’s hard to save a mushroom crop infested with cobweb mold. Prevention is easy. Lower the humidity inside your growing area to avoid mold contamination. Improving air circulation will also reduce humidity. Open windows, doors and use a circulating fan to reduce mold growth.
Green mold infestation is from a white mycelium called Trichoderma harzianum. This is an aggressive form of mold that will quickly cover the entire casing and mushroom. This cause soft rot and will produce spores which are emerald green.
Green mold is caused by poor sanitation, flies and anaerobes. The best way to get rid of green mold is by ensuring that your growing area is clean and well-sanitized. Use surface disinfectants to completely clean your surroundings.
Pink mold (red bread mold)
Pink mold is a fast-growing fungus that grows in grain and agar. Also called Neurospora, this mold is present everywhere. It is very hard to get rid of this kind of mold, therefore, any contaminated cultures should be destroyed immediately. You must also thoroughly clean your growing area or laboratory before you grow another batch.
Blue-green molds are very common, especially on specialty mushrooms. Blue-green mushrooms produce spores and are airborne and are found everywhere. This kind of mold usually grows in agar and grain cultures. On the first sign of blue-green mold infestation, throw away any contaminated specimen or bottle. Clean the area with strong disinfectant.
Black mold is common in grain and agar cultures as well as in an organic substrate. Black mold is also called yellow mold or Aspergillus and this prefers a neutral to slightly basic pH to grow and thrive. Black mold is not entirely black but is found in different colors from dark brown to yellow. Some species of black mold are dangerous and will produce alfa-toxins. This type of mold should be handled with extreme care. Clean your working and growing area after you have removed all the contaminated specimen before starting a new batch to grow.
A dry bubble is caused by the Verticillium species of fungi. This kind of mold is very hard to remove and produces very sticky spores. You can tell that your crops have been affected by dry bubble when you find deformed pinheads. If the infestation is not stopped mushrooms will grow crooked with a tiled cap.
The spores spread through wind and dust particles, therefore, you must be careful when moving soil near your growing area. Prevent flies from entering your growing area since these could carry the dust particles with spores. Place salt on tissue paper inside your growing area or along its perimeter to contain the infestation.
Fungus gnats are tiny winged insects that are very attracted to mushrooms. Gnats feed on the mycelium and dig into the mushrooms feeding and destroying the insides. The mushroom tissues that have been eaten by the gnats will soon be infested with bacteria causing the area to develop soft rot.
The best way to remove fungus gnats is to maintain hygiene. Remove trash lying around and clean surrounding areas to prevent overgrowth of gnats. Place yellow sticky paper near your shrooms so that the gnats will be captured.
Preventing is better than treating mold infestation
Most mold infestations are fatal to your crops and therefore you must be very vigilant when growing your magic mushrooms. When growing indoors, keep your growing area well ventilated. Use a fan or open your windows to let fresh air in. Use a humidifier to prevent mold growth, especially dangerous mold species.
Take note that mushrooms are up to 90% water and these require high levels of humidity to start pinning and to have a healthy, growing environment. You can start by improving humidity by using a simple spray bottle. Simply spray the walls of your growing area to maintain high humidity. Do not spray water directly on your mushrooms because this can damage the fruits. Use perlite along the bottom of your growing pot to improve soil aeration.
Growing outdoors is also an option but before you do, choose an area near your home. It should be an area where there is indirect lighting. Magic mushrooms grow well in an area where there is a lot of light during the day but not exposed to a lot of sunlight all day.
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