General

Liquid Cultures or Spore Syringes? What’s the Difference?

Many people use the words “liquid culture” and “spore syringe” interchangeably, but the fact is these are two very different organisms. Both can be grown if given the right substrate and environmental conditions, but they have their differences!

Spore Syringes

Spore syringes are the most common form of spore solution you’ll find on the market. They’re easier to re-stock as they take less time to develop in the lab. Spore syringes contain a mixture of distilled water and spores. Within these syringes you can often see little black/grey/white specs floating around. Those are the spores!

The visibility of the spores within the syringe will depend on the strain you choose. Some strains have less spores visible but remember that spores are often microscopic. In most cases, if you can’t see many spores, there are more than meets the eye. You often need a x400 microscope to see the majority of the spores within your syringe.

Albino, or naturally white mushrooms may have white/greyish spores which would be difficult to see within a syringe, but we can assure you they are there! They may even give you a run for your money when you try to view them from under the microscope.

Liquid Culture Syringes

This is where it gets interesting. To start with, Liquid culture syringes aren’t clear, they’re a light yellow/cream colour. You’re also less likely to see black dots (spores) within these syringes, which sounds counterproductive- but in reality, it’s the opposite.

Instead of seeing black dots in your syringe, you’ll see off-white floating chunks suspended in a mellow yellow liquid. These chunks are little pieces of germinated spores. This is beneficial to the cultivation of your project as the spores will be a step ahead of the spore syringe, so the process may be a tad quicker. They’re also useful if you’d like to maintain genetic quality as well as yield and development time.

So, Liquid Culture Syringes are better, right?

Well, yes and no. It’s complicated.

Liquid cultures do allow for a quicker and more efficient process, but they have a few drawbacks too. They have half the shelf-life of your typical spore syringe. Where your spore syringe will have around 6 months’ worth of shelf life (if kept in the fridge) your LC syringe will have three. This also depends on whether you’ve agitated the mycelium within the syringe daily to maintain it’s health and keep it oxygenated.

It can also be difficult to spot contamination from within the cloudy LC syringe. Typical signs of contamination of spores within a syringe include thick fluid or a cloudy culture. This looks very similar to the way in which a healthy LC looks. In your typical spore syringe this would be an instant giveaway to contamination.

Furthermore, some strains are unavailable within LC form. Those interested in studying psilocybin-strain spores from under the microscope must note that they cannot find LC versions of these spores as the germinating within the syringe is an illegal process.

What Should I Choose?

What suits you best depends on a few factors. The easiest being, if you fancy studying psilocybin spores from under the microscope you have to choose spore syringes.

If you’re growing health mushroom spores and you’d like to speed up the process, why not try liquid culture spores from a trusted supplier (*cough* *cough* Shiny Spores *cough*)?

If you’d rather bulk-buy a load of syringes to store until you want to use them, use spore syringes.

Alternatively, why not try turning a syringe full of health mushroom spores into LC? That way, whenever the mood strikes and you fancy developing a new bag you can germinate the spores from the fridge when it suits you. This way you aren’t held to the three month expiry date!

Either way, as long as you buy your syringes from a reputable supplier (like us!) you will be successful in your studies.

Boring Bit:

Please note that we do not encourage the growth of or germination of our psilocybin spores as it is illegal. This article was purely focused on the differences these two formats make to your project when growing health mushrooms and to make people aware you cannot buy LC psilocybin spores.

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