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How big do my precautions have to be in order to prevent against contamination? I am going to be able to use my school's laboratories to inoculate the agar as it shouldn't draw much attention but when I have to transfer the mycelium to the spawn I won't have that luxury. I'm worried, as my dorm room is anything but clean, that I'm going to contaminate my spawn during this step. This risk seems to be an equal threat when it comes time to case the spawn. What are some easy and effective ways to prevent against contaminants in these situations?
I'd say to start off with a 'Lysol glove box', being as clean as possible, and see if you end up needing more. You may find that it's enough; if not, you might have to get creative When in a position like that, negative controls are very valuable. . .keep one jar completely unopened, but shaken and incubated with the rest. Keep another jar 'fake inoculated' to test if the glove box inoculation step is clean enough. It's not a full-proof cover, but can be helpful. If those jars end up being clean, you can still knock them up at a later date. If you're using poly fill, a syringe/needle can be used to inoculate through the stuff; This will decrease the risk of contamination compared to completely removing the jar lid for inoculation.
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