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There's a couple of things to think about. . . 1. The liquid and the 1/2 pts were sterilized separately. The 1/2 pts. could have been incompletely sterilized/improperly cooled. 2. The needle/innoculum could have been the culprit, and the mold just never took in the liquid innoculum because the medium is not as conducive to its growth. Since the contamination seems to originate at the points of innoculation ONLY, this would lead more toward #2. If you're normally not having these problems, I'd just rack it up to bad luck and do things as you have been. Random contamination happens with even the most careful cultivators.
I am basically just trying to guess at what point this process shit the bed, and how to prevent it from happening in the future. Due to the liquid Innoculum I didn't lost the strain all together, but I NEVER want it to happen again.
The spore vendor I use is tops, and I am leaning towards the "my fault" approach.
Anyways this has taught me that I can be twice as careful in the future, and that failures SUCK THE DONKEY ASS.