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I'm interested in growing a Alba white truffle and Portobello mushrooms using aeroponics. Can this be done? If not is there a faster and more scalable method than using traditional dirt in general? Thanks :D

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  • Conventional commercial mushrooms ( agaricus campesrti , which I think includes portabella) are grown in artificial manure , not soil. Depending on the mushroom different mediums are used , like oak wood for shitake. – blacksmith37 Apr 8 at 14:34
  • Ah, ok. The reason I mentioned soil is because this article provides instructions for growing mushrooms in dirt but they mention that you may have to wait up to two weeks for it to become "sterilized" by the sun's rays and I'm looking for a much faster method that's also preferably less messy than having to deal with soil wikihow.com/Grow-Portobello-Mushrooms – at0micV3n0m Apr 8 at 14:54
  • There are faster ways to sterilize soil. On a small scale you can use canning jars and a pressure cooker. I'm sure there are other methods for large-scale production. – csk Apr 8 at 16:13
  • It seems like you're asking for an entire course on how to grow mushrooms. Please do yourself a favor and buy a book on the topic. – csk Apr 8 at 16:14
  • I've already done some googling but I haven't been able to find a book on growing mushrooms/truffles using aeroponics and I'd REALLY prefer to not use soil if at all possible although the pressure cooker is an interesting idea ;). Any suggestions for such a book or free course/article regarding the cultivation of both mushrooms and truffles? They can be separate books so long as they discuss aeroponic growth methods or maybe growing mushrooms using petri dish if that's possible :) – at0micV3n0m Apr 8 at 16:25
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(Disclaimer: I am not a mycologist & am not an expert in mushroom cultivation, just a hobbyist)

With that disclaimer out of the way, I've never come across anything about growing mushrooms aeroponically. I won't say it is impossible, but I can't imagine how it would work. Who knows, maybe you will be able to pioneer a method for this. Before you can do that though, you need to understand and practice established methods for mushroom cultivation, otherwise your chance of success is probably zero.

1st, Portabella:

The biggest problem that you will run into is the fact the mushrooms are not plants. They don't have roots, stems or really any concentrated mass that you could secure into an aeroponic system. Rather they have a diffuse network of mycelium. Though this superficially seems analogous to roots, mycelium does not behave in the same way. With a rooted plant, there is a stem that is fixed in place above the root ball. If a root isn't getting nutrients or water it may die while perhaps another root becomes more robust & continues to feed the plant. If one part of the diffuse mycelial network is not getting water or nutrients, it may be reabsorbed into the mass so the fungi can direct it's energies elsewhere. This Mycelial mass is not restricted to staying under a stem, and will entirely move to a location with favorable resources. So how would you keep it in place in an aeroponic system? Assuming that you were actually able to figure out a suitable nutrient solution (will not be the same as for plants), some of that solution would adhere to the inside of your aeroponic system. Any mycelium you did manage to get established would happily grow along that surface trying to chase down the rich source!

There is commercial & scientific production of mycelium of various species in bio-reactors (mycelium grown freely in a liquid substrate), but these do not meet the conditions required for the mycelium to produce fruit bodies (mushrooms). You could potentially culture some amount of mycelium in a bio-reactor, separate it from the liquid & then move to a substrate suspended in an aeroponic system (like coconut coir perhaps), however this would have to be able to have a large enough volume for the mycelium to store enough resources to support rapidly producing fruit bodies.

So... unless that sounds like fun to you (and probably many years of research & trial and error), stick with established methods.

I've been growing wood decomposing mushrooms as a hobby for a few years, mainly Oyster, shitake & Lions Mane. These species are saprophytic primary decomposers usually grown on dead wood / sawdust, sometimes supplemented with grains). Agaricus sp. (Button, Cremini & Portabella) are generally saprophytic secondary decomposers requiring already partly decomposed organic matter (compost, forest floor duff etc. Not soil per-say as vaguely talked about in the wikihow article you link). Saprophytic essentially just means the fungus decomposes & feeds off of dead organic matter.

Generally speaking, secondary decomposers require substrate that is messier to deal with than primary decomposers, that's why most hobbyists stick with the aforementioned or other primary decomposers with similar growing requirements. That said, if you want portabellas, go for it. Using established methods.

2nd Truffles:

Forget it.

Truffles are an ectomycorrhizal fungi. Meaning they require a symbiotic relationship with a plant. Usually specific species of trees. The mycelium of the fungus must connect to and interact with a compatible tree to flourish. People with serious research money of spent millions (more?) trying to cultivate mushrooms such as truffles, morels & chanterelles (to name a few) and failed miserably. The only way you might - over the course of decades - succeed in cultivating truffles is to plant trees with root balls inoculated with truffle spores / mycelium in the right conditions (temperature, soil ph, soil nutrients, moisture - these factors are only somewhat well understood). Read the wikipedia page on truffles for a primer.

Lastly

As I think you've eluded to knowing; mushrooms don't have seeds. They do produce spores, but these do not 'sprout' a mushroom the way a seed sprouts a plant. Upon landing on a suitable substrate, spores will begin to grow hyphae into the substrate. Once these hyphae encounter compatible hyphae produced by another spore they will continue to grow as one organism, eventually producing fruit bodies if environmental & nutritional requirements are met.

You could certainly grow mushrooms directly from spores in this way, but a much quicker, easier & certain approach is to use commercially available mushroom spawn (usually grains inoculated with pieces of tissue from already established mycelial bodies or fruit bodies, often expanded from liquid cultures). Just google "mushroom spawn" and you will get results for companies that sell online.

As for storage of 'seeds'; if you master laboratory inoculation techniques, you would normally store mycelium colonized agar plates in cold temperatures for mid-term storage, or in liquid cultures for longer-term storage. Spores can also be stored in liquid media, but without the nutrients typical of liquid cultures.

Final thoughts

If you have garden space outdoors, you may consider Wine Cap mushrooms. I have personally never grown them, but from what I read they are fairly easy to grow.

Suggested reading:

  • 'Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation' by Tradd Cotter
  • 'Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms' by Paul Stamets
  • 'The Mushroom Cultivator: A Practical Guide to Growing Mushrooms at Home' by Paul Stamets

Finally, I don't know where you are, but if you are in North America you should investigate the North American Mycological Association. Even if you are elsewhere in the world, there are some very good resources on their website. Join a local Mycological club if you can.

And welcome to the hobbyist mushroom growing world!

(ETA: I am intentionally not addressing the health related part of this question, as there are a lot of spurious opinions & information out there regarding the various health impacts mushrooms.)

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  • Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to write such a in-depth response! It will be EXTREMELY helpful. I wish I had more time this evening to ask you some questions regarding your response. I opened a chatroom for "best websites to buy seeds." If you wouldn't mind, I'd love to ask you a couple questions regarding your response there since I probably won't be able to communicate further here due to the closure. Or if you'd prefer perhaps we could DM each other if that's an option on this website and if you wouldn't mind. I'm new here lol. Either way, thank you so much and for the warm welcome! – at0micV3n0m Apr 10 at 2:56

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