If you’ve advanced beyond kits and pre-sterilized packages, you’re going to have to be able to sterilize your own equipment. To this end, if you’re a hobbyist mushroom grower, buying your own autoclave is a huge cost and requires some serious space to setup. Instead of spending $500, you can turn to something much more affordable and easy to operate.
A pressure cooker.
Pressure Cooker Sterilization
If you want to sterilze equipment you need to put it a high heat, high pressure environment for a prolonged period of time. This is how and autoclave works. Thankfully, this is also how modern canning works and your basic canning pressure cooker may be able to do the trick!
Introducing the Presto 23-Quart Pressure Cooker!
This pressure cooker can maintain the pressure and temperature needed to sterilize most equipment and is easy to use. For most sterilizations you will need to get up to 15 psi pressure for at least 45 minutes. Thankfully this relatively affordable option can do just that without you needing to worry about breaking the bank. This is the same piece of equipment I would recommend to anyone sterilizing equipment for at home microbiology projects.
How to Sterile Equipment at Home
This is the easy part. Simply place your equipment in the pressure cooker on a stand or raised platform and then follow the instructions from there. Your target is a stable 15 psi for 45-90 minutes depending on the materials. Agar and basic tools can go for 45 minutes, but other growth mediums and substrates should be cooked the full 90 minutes. If you’re using glassware make sure it’s rated for autoclave or canning and never put a fully sealed container in!
The Next Level
If you want to go even more professional without breaking the bank there’s another great option available.
The All American 921 Canner Pressure Cooker.
While this will certainly get the job done, it will also last you a lot longer. It is a bit more expensive, but it’s worth the investment if you’re going to get into mushroom cultivation more seriously. If you’re just starting out I would fully recommend the Presto, but if you’re still doing this when your presto gives out, this is the next step.
Easy Home Sterilization for Mushroom Cultivation
Sterilizing equipment at home doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking! With a simple pressure cooker and good aseptic technique, you can keep your equipment clean your fungi free of contamination!