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Registered: 04/17/01
Posts: 20,815
Loc: Ontario, Canada
A few thoughts/questions on contaminants...
    #563669 - 02/26/02 10:36 AM (22 years, 11 days ago)

Are contaminants really as bad as we are all told?

I was thinking about this last night. When mushrooms grow naturally, in the wild, the conditions are nowhere near the sterile conditions usually attained when growing indoors...but does anyone worry about contaminants in outdoor mushrooms?

I mean, honestly here. When you pick a mushroom off a pile of cow dung...do you really think that the only thing growing in that pile of filth is psilocybe mushrooms and mycelium? Most cow dung contains quite a lot of other bacterial/fungal organisms. Sure, maybe the psilocybe mycelium manages to kill off any other organisms living in the dung (substrate), but those organisms were still there at one point during the mycelial growth.

We spend so much time trying to make our substrate sterile...while at the same time we eat natural mushrooms (those of us who can get them, anyway) that have grown on an animal's excrement. E-coli bacteria is present in just about all cow dung, at least at first (compost does not contain e-coli).

Or even on a forest floor. Do you have any idea how many species of bacteria and fungus live and grow in the exact same places as psylocybe mushrooms?

When growing indoors, the common practice is to toss out any cake that has become contaminated, even if the mycelium manages to overtake and kill the contaminant.

I'm going to do a lot more research on this over the next few days, to see if I can find a better answer, but here's my idea: it may not be so bad to eat a mushroom from a cake/substrate that had, at one time, had a contaminant. If the mycelium manages to overtake and destroy the contaminant...what is the danger? Is there any danger?

Once, men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free.
But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them.

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 User Gallery

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 7,264
Re: A few thoughts/questions on contaminants... [Re: trendal]
    #563692 - 02/26/02 10:53 AM (22 years, 11 days ago)

Yes, its outside though, everything works with eatchother outside.  :smile:

When its inside its a different story. Im not really sure about the specifics, but, if you ahve a contaminated cake, throw it outside in the soil, and it might grow, and those guys will be ok to eat. Or so im told... ;/

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Eggshell Walker

Registered: 01/18/00
Posts: 15,413
Loc: In the hen house
Re: A few thoughts/questions on contaminants... [Re: trendal]
    #571808 - 03/06/02 06:37 PM (22 years, 3 days ago)

I would like to hear some more thoughts on this as well. I have some jars that are like 70% colonized with some bacterial wet spots.

Seems as if you cut off the wet spot then use to spawn compost, that the mushrooms would be fine. Even if mildly contaminated, would not the drying process kill off the bacteria? (I am dismissing mushrooms that are obviously contaminated.)

No one wants to take chances, but who here is sure of the actual dangers?


The proof is in the pudding.

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Registered: 08/28/01
Posts: 231
Last seen: 21 years, 9 months
Re: A few thoughts/questions on contaminants... [Re: trendal]
    #571837 - 03/06/02 07:16 PM (22 years, 3 days ago)

When you sterilize jars in a PC, you're (supposedly) eliminating all living organisms, and ending up with a completely barren substrate which is full of nutrients. You inject mushroom spores, they grow, etc etc. If you get trich or whatever, you've now got mushrooms vs trich, and (again supposedly) that's it.

In the wild, you've got thousands of micro-organisms and insects and the like that are existing in the same area. I'm no microbiologist, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find that a lot of the microorganisms keep each other in check in various ways, and co-exist through various interaction. This makes sense to me at least, because you don't ever go out into the wild and find a bacterial organism or whatever that has completely colonized a giant area.

Think about it this way. You've got a piece of ground or some sort of outdoor area of a completely arbitrary size that is fruiting mushrooms. Because you see mushrooms fruiting, you can probably assume that the mycelium has colonized the majority of the area, lets say, for argument's sake, that it has colonized 70% of the area (again, completely arbitrary). In the remaining 20%, maybe 4% is organism A, 6% is organism B, 3% is organism C, etc etc. Contrast this to your PC jar, where you end up with a 70/30 split between mycelium and trich, or some such. A much less diverse environment.

I would be willing to bet that the interactions between organisms A-D (and possibly the mycelium itself, I'm not sure) are what prevent wild mushrooms from ending up full of bacterial contam.

Of course, like I said, I'm no microbiologist or ecologist, but this concept seems reasonable to me. Thoughts?


"Order some golf shoes," I whispered. "Otherwise, we'll never get out of this place alive. You notice these lizards don't have any trouble moving around in this muck - that's because they have ~claws~ on their feet."

Edited by CynicalMagician (03/06/02 07:18 PM)

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