You may have heard or read about using agar slants in many online communities or books. It has become a popular tool in preserving your mycelium for long term use. An agar slant allows you to store your favorite mushroom in a suspended state for up to 12 months! Here are the simple steps for using the agar slants.
Things You’ll Need
· Colonized Agar plate with the mycelium specimen you want to preserve
· A sterile disposable scalpel or a hobby knife
· An alcohol lamp or a steady flame source for sterilizing the blade
· A Laminar Flow Hood (Recommended) or a quality Still Air Box
· Agar Slants
1. Clean Up
Start by cleaning the outside of the dishes / slants with rubbing alcohol. Ensure that your hands, scalpel and all other tools are clean. Wear nitrile gloves and a surgical mask to prevent contaminants landing on the fresh plate from your hands or breath.
2. Set Up the Dishes
Remove the Parafilm or tape. Set the dish or dishes side by side in front of the flow hood. It may be easier to set the new plate on the opposite side of your working hand.
3. Sterilize your scalpel
Start by flaming the scalpel blade until it is glowing red hot. This needs to be done between each and every transfer, so have a constant flame going on your work bench. This can be achieved most easily with an alcohol lamp, but you can also use a shot glass that is ¾ full with rubbing alcohol. Just ensure that the shot glass cannot tip over while it is burning! You can also purchase boxes of disposable sterilized disposable scalpels for cheap on Amazon. Make sure the blade is cool before proceeding to the next step.
4. Make the Transfer
Quickly Open a dish and cut a pea size sample of mycelium. Twist off the lid of the slant and insert the mycelium into the slant. Make sure the piece of mycelium has a good contact with the agar inside the slant. Replace the lid and repeat. You should make at least 3 slants from a agar plate for storage.
Allow the slants to incubate for 4-5 days. Watch out for any signs of contamination. You should see new growth similar to a agar plate. Once the mycelium has established and grown out across the slant you are ready for long term storage. Store the slants in a zip lock bag in the fridge. Do not let them freeze. After 6 months check on the quality and appearance of the mycelium. If it starts to turn dark, transfer to a new slant or petri dish.