Building a laminar flow hood is expensive if you’re just growing mushrooms as a hobby, but a glovebox can help you do sterile work at a fraction of the price. While it’s not a perfect substitution it can definitely help reduce contamination. The best part is it’s easy to make and can be made with every day items.
What is a Glovebox?
A glovebox is essentially a sealed box you can clean and work in that will keep you from introducing contaminates to your work area. It has two gloves that reach into the box from the outside and allow you to work. The advantage is that no air enters or leaves the box while you work, which is why it is sometime called a still air box. The disadvantage is that once you close it and begin working, everything you need has to be in the box already.
Making a Glovebox
You will need the following supplies:
- A large clear plastic tub
- A pair of loose fitting, large kitchen gloves
- A strong glue or expoy
- A tube of sealant or silicone
- Cut two hole into the side of the box wide enough to fit the gloves and you hand through.
- Insert the gloves leaving about an inch to two inches of excess material outside of the holes.
- Glue the glove material down to the outside of the box all the way around.
- Once the glue has dried go around the outside and inside of the gloves with a layer of sealant to ensure no air can get through where the gloves are attached.
Using Your Glovebox
To use your glovebox for mushroom cultivation simply spray everything down with 10:1 isopropyl alcohol and place it in your glove box. Typically it is a good idea to have a small bottle of 10:1 isopropyl alcohol in the glovebox as well. While it drying put the lid on your box and wait for the alcohol to evaporate. The box should be ready for you to work. Once you are done working make sure to seal everything you plan on keeping clean before opening the box.
Safety Tip: Never light a flame in a glovebox that has been cleaned with alcohol. The vapors have nowhere to go and the box will explode.