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InvisibleRipper
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Registered: 01/20/00
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Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates
    #92457 - 02/11/00 01:30 AM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Well.. After much thought I decided to write this. I know that I will receive much flame about how I'm wrong. BUT, I want to get something across to everyone.

A few months back a friend of myne wanted to eat a cake to get high. I told him if he really wanted to OK. Well after a couple bites he couldn't stand the taste and puked. Now he said that it tasted like the shrooms he had before and that it was just ALOT stronger. This got me thinking. Well.. The majority of shrooms that are sold, are probably grown using vermiculite in the process. Most of the time in both the substrate and the casing layer. Here is the kicker to the whole thing. Stamets, in TMC, suggests that an *OPTIONAL* 1 part vermiculate can be added to 4 parts peat, 1 part lime flour, and 1/2 part lime grit. Now, where the hell does the 50/50 make any sense there. Also, in the 50/50 standard(not plus) it doesn't suggest using a lime to balance out the soil. The Vermiculate isn't going to buffer out that peat moss any, vermiculate ranges in PH from 6-9. Meaning, yeah, its gonna get it close to 7, but not balanced properly. Now the 50/50+ does use oyster shell to balance the PH, this is good, but once again they use Vermiculite.

OK, so heres my findings that caused me to write this, I grew a batch of B+ on wheat straw that was spawned with rye. The casing was straight peat without the PH being balanced(didn't have chlorophast strips then) and I found that the mushrooms tasted like actually mushrooms you'd buy in a store, they didn't have this horrid taste! To confirm this, I had a friend try them also, he said that they tasted VERY good to him also. No nausia either.

Now sometimes when the local dealer has shrooms, they have "gold flakes" that "get you higher" HAH! It's fucking vermiculite. But the gold flakes is the reason I'm mentioning this. Psilocybe Cubensis in particular seems to draw up things out of the substrate and casing layers. So in theory, whatever you put in there to an extent, they're going to draw up. Not vermiculite stuck on them, but actually embedded in the stems. I've seen this on a few occasions.

Another interesting fact regarding vermiculite, you know how we all seem to get cobweb mold... Well call me crazy, I live in a place where molds and bacterias are extremely low, and the likelyhood of cobweb mold being present is slim to none. So it crawled in on something. And a friend of myne has tested straight verm with water added and got cobweb mold to generate. On the other hand, Stamets suggests that peat is fairly clean to begin with, yet our casings are constantly being infected with cobweb. Also, I noticed the first signs of cobweb usually show up within 24 hours of putting a casing on(very very hard to see). Now I prepared a casing last night, and let it sit in the middle of my living room, with no lid on it for 60 minutes, then covered it, and let it sit 24 hours. No signs of cobweb. Which furthers my conclusion that cobweb travels on vermiculite.

So whats the solution to this in my head, well I think that we need to look at possibly elimating vermiculite in substrates and casings layers. Eliminating it from the casing layer is simple. Just use peat moss, and balance the PH to 7 using limeflour/grit.. Use approximately 2 times as much flour as grit. A substitution for grit is oyster shell. I am also working on developing a substrate with different types of grain that provides aeration similiar to vermiculite.

I know this isn't a solution to a problem. Or maybe the problem is just in my head, But I'll tell you what. Either I'm going nutz, or vermiculite is a demon sent from hell to make my shrooms taste bad.

[This message has been edited by Ripper (edited February 11, 2000).]



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InvisibleAnubisRonin
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92458 - 02/11/00 06:54 AM (17 years, 6 months ago)

You know what..... I feel some truth in those words.... I have to think about this one for a sec...


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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92459 - 02/11/00 06:55 AM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Wow ripper, amazing!
I think you're right, I have noticed "gold flakes" in my shrooms also, but I thought its just verm stuck on it. I never realized they grew embedded in the stems! shit. I always heard that shrooms from the wild are really better tasting than grown ones. I really hope you're right ripper, cause Im sick from this horrible taste allready!

Later,
tweedy.



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OfflineCode
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92460 - 02/11/00 10:26 AM (17 years, 6 months ago)

quote:
Originally posted by Ripper:
I grew a batch of B+ on wheat straw that was spawned with rye. The casing was straight peat without the PH being balanced(didn't have chlorophast strips then) and I found that the mushrooms tasted like actually mushrooms you'd buy in a store, they didn't have this horrid taste!

I haven't tried B+ myself, nor do I usually case, however, I do use lime to get my cakes, which are a modified PF Tek sugstrate, as close to pH 7 as I can. My mushrooms also taste fine. Not GOOD, but not bad at all if you like culinary mushrooms to begin with. I've found that drying has a severe negative impact on the flavor.

So, thus far our results seem to agree, I just thought I had a less-nasty tasting strain :smile:

quote:
Now sometimes when the local dealer has shrooms, they have "gold flakes" that "get you higher" HAH! It's fucking vermiculite.

Hmm, I examine every one of my cake-grown mushrooms (to check for any kind of contimination), and I've never, ever found vermiculite anywhere but around the base.
Maybe its different with casing.

quote:
Another interesting fact regarding vermiculite, you know how we all seem to get cobweb mold... Well call me crazy, I live in a place where molds and bacterias are extremely low, and the likelyhood of cobweb mold being present is slim to none. So it crawled in on something.

Again, my results seem to parallel yours, the only time I ever get contaminations anymore is when I don't bake the shit out of my vermiculte before using it (pressure cooking gets rid of most of the problems, but its not unusual for something to get through). However, I have never even seen cobweb, I have problems with some kind of yellowish powdery substance that takes over the cake.

quote:
I am also working on developing a substrate with different types of grain that provides aeration similiar to vermiculite.

I've found that whole, boiled birdseed (with sunflowers) and whole brown rice work quite well. It absorbs plenty of water during boiling, and does not get particularly sticky. Once in the jar, there is plenty of air between the grains (assuming you don't pack it in of course).

It grows quite well. I credit Mr. G for giving me the idea. B+ seems to love the stuff.

I'd recommend mixing up a bunch of spore solution, and innoculating substrates, one vermiculite based, and one or more an alternate. Grow them out in similar chambers and harvest. Then get a couple of friends and perform a double blind taste test and see if your fiends can tell a difference, or have a prefrence.



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InvisibleRipper
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92461 - 02/11/00 02:48 PM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Well, I think that after the responses to this thread, and that no one has replied stating that I'm wrong, that it's obvious we possibly need to educate newbies and others about the use of vermiculite in their growing.

Another couple of sidenotes regarding it. #1 vermiculite is expensive. When compared in cost to all the other things you use, vermiculite is one of the most expensive. I used to think it was just a good idea to use, since everyone else was. When in reality it really should be removed from cultivation all together. Other species of mushrooms from what I understand do not absorb things out of the substrate and casing like cubensis do. Which leads me to #2

#2 Vermiculate is NOT consumable. It's not good for you to eat. And when people use 100% vermiculate casing and a 75% vermiculite in their substrates. It would be an obvious conclusion that these people are getting vermiculite in their fruitbodies.

Just a thought =P



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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92462 - 02/11/00 03:57 PM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Ripper,
I definetely believe you could be on to something here. It all fits together to nicely for it not. All points you brought up are valid and do make sense. I'll take a closer look at it and give you my results.

TryptoFarmer



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InvisiblePrellgott
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92463 - 02/11/00 07:25 PM (17 years, 6 months ago)

......hmmmmmmmm.......
you could be right...I grow on a casing with 30%Verm 30%peatmoss 30% Woochips and some Cocusflakes and some gypsum....
My shrooms don`t taste very good but not bad either...vermiculit is often in the base never on other parts...
I never have problems with cobweb mol but often with green mold...I bake and microwave my casing but it still comes often after the second flush...it grows on the used up substrate which I blame to the low nutriedent (?) amount provited by the rice floor...
this is the reson why I changed to birdseed/verm mixture (2/1) and I am trying
Birdseed and Ryegrains and quinoa grains together it seemd to be siry enough. I innoculated today will post results...

but vermiculite has some big advantages as casing cause it is very airy and lets the substrate breath.

B.T.W I don`t like the classical only Ryegrian tek...

peace and stuff

I will try pure woodcompost with cocus flakes and mybe oasis (a new growth media for hemp)
with some gypsum. I will post results also..
The woodcompst provides nutritients and serves as casing isn't very likly to be contaminated ( a guy in Germany wrote a book in which he described this and B.I.O also uses it) and the cocos flakes and oasis are very airy and can also hold lots of water..

a thing which could be tested is just soakig vermiculit in water if the water changes the colour, ph, Ec? a lot it is a sign that there is aggod chance that the shrooms suck uop some stuff...

well Ripper good point, lets research the totel Vermiculite free growing....also Vermiculite is the most expensive and most difficult to get thing in my setup....
(it isn`t very common in Germany)

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InvisibleAnubisRonin
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92464 - 02/11/00 09:13 PM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Because I have always seen vermiculite in the mushroom recipies startng with PF Tek, I have always used it... What is the point of it besides holding water??? The Classical formula is RYE only... how does rye seem to hold water good all by itself? If you are using mixed grains like birdseed, quinoa, brownrice, flax, all mixed then would it work ok without the virmiculite??? Atleast you could eat the cake after your done right?? HMmmmmmm I Think its time for experiments on this.. Fuck vermiculite I agree lets find an alternate path... and uh oh yeah one more question... How is vermiculite made?? I know its formed from wood petrified or something.... I wonder if there are any negative health affects from using it? Just a thought.


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InvisibleAnubisRonin
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92465 - 02/11/00 09:16 PM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Another thought is that since Vermiculite is so widespread in use now... it might be hard to get that many people to experiment without it because it has always been the backbone for growing cubies.. atleast recently.... so some of us need to come up with a good alternate substrate recipie.


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InvisibleRipper
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92466 - 02/11/00 09:40 PM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Well.. I have a couple friends experiment with using rye in 1/2 pint jars right now, I only work with quart jars normally, so I don't want to go out and spend the extra dough on 1/2 pints for one use. Of course, the widespread use of vermiculite is SAD to say the least. The whole reason everyone got on the hype was PF. And well, we ALL know that PF did do something, he made growing mushrooms a reality for the average joe, yes. But then people started letting everything revolve around vermiculite, put verm below your cakes to catch water dadadadada.

People also suggest that casings need vermiculate to improve aeration, well to be honest, I know that my peat casing that I just did with no vermiculite had plenty of aeration. When peat is brought to the proper moisture content it is still fluffy, and has plenty of water.



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InvisibleLenore
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92467 - 02/11/00 10:36 PM (17 years, 6 months ago)

some alternative ideas for substrate?
Coconut husk
Rockwool
I dont know how well these work but i imagine they compare well to vermiculite


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Offlinecamel
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92468 - 02/11/00 11:21 PM (17 years, 6 months ago)

I have not used verm in my casings/spawn in quite sometime. 100% free of contams in both my jars and casings. NO JOKE. Although 10-25% of my petris contam, but NOT ANY JAR/CASING since I have stopped using verm...

Think about this people

peace
camel



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InvisibleCondi1
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92469 - 02/11/00 11:30 PM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Rip,
Glad to see you still hanging here! Remember, I'm a big straw fan, too! One of the minority, here.
On the vermiculite situation, I have also been concerned with ingestion aspects. Don't know what's gonna be in those little flakes, nor have I been able to get much info. Would guess it probably wouldn't be good, but who knows.
Also, have not had much problem with cobweb using verm containing cakes as spawners. At least not any more so than other methods and mediums. Cannot say that it hasn't appeared at times, though. Have definately run into the ogre with straw medium using liquid mycelial methods, and other times. Go figure. I guess I'm the oddball out here after reading previous posts, but my results just the same. Sounds like others fairly unanimous, so far. Believe me, the cobweb has pissed me off to no ends with several different mediums, at one time or another. But have not noticed any more prevalence with vermiculite containing substrates.
Vermiculite has been used for two reasons, and two reasons only. First, as an additive, it is a moisture retentive medium. Second, it helps as a dry layer barrier to contaminants (assuming it is contaminant free), if using as a top barrier layer. This will always be a good method to those new to mycology, especially when not as attentive to sterility. It has worked for many going back a long ways, and will for many others. However, I am one to always seek better and more effective methods. And, I know we have better methods. Just got to learn a little! After a long time of experience and trial, I found that the buffer layer is not necessarily needed if you use good sterile technique, and a good medium. Also, have been familiar with using rye. Usually as a primary spawnmaster, after sterile culture is already developed. As a multiplying medium for bulk substrate, there is no substitute!
Can't help to say it, but don't jump the gun too soon on the vermiculite being the cause of the cobweb. I find it very hard to believe that the vermiculite could escape sterilization under the proper controls. I would think certain grains would have more inherent poblems than poreous vermiculite. Unless, of course, it has some undiscovered properties I am unaware of. Always open to new research, though.
Thanks for your thinking, and thanks for sticking around. You have much to offer all here. Anytime we can pin anyone down that spends as much time and enthusiasm in this field as you helps us all. Rock on, and multiply greatly!
Peace

"Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day!"

[This message has been edited by Condi1 (edited February 11, 2000).]



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OfflineSuntzu
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92470 - 02/12/00 01:58 AM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Very interesting. Very interesting.
My thoughts on vermiculite; The word means something like 'worm stone'--I thought in reference to the way it's made, some kind of extrusion process--but I'd be surprised if it is a synthetic substance. . .It seems like it should be [like perlite is synthetic]. I always assumed vermiculite was just crunched up mica; which is very very very very very very thin layers of some mineral [damn, it's not quartz, some mineral anyway--I can't remember] stacked on top of one another. So that in theory, you could peel apart mica [and vermiculite] 'page by page' until you had molecule-thick layers. This property of vermiculite gives its water-holding capacity; water will fill the gaps in some of the pages by capillary action, lots of surface area to hold onto. But in addition, lots of little crevices, cracks, and nooks for spores to germinate. Also, because this is a mineral with questionable heat conductivity, perhaps [emphasize perhaps] the heat of sterilization doesn't completely permeate to the core of each vermiculite fragment.
One lesson I've learned in the process of cultivation is that you are ice skating uphill if you try waging a war against every contaminant. The best way to fight is to creat environments and substrates that are more favored by the shroom, less so by the contaminants. Perhaps trichoderma thrives more on the vermiculite microclime than shroom mycelia. I am completely open to the possibility and look forward to any evidence supporting its elimination and suggestions for a viable replacement.
As far as the taste goes; Not much of a concern to me or any of my friends. YIELD, YIELD, let's talk YIELD!
Way to make us all think about something most people took for granted, Ripper.


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InvisibleRipper
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92471 - 02/12/00 02:40 AM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Yield, Tengo en gotto es verde! HEhehe, spelling is prolly off there, no formal spanish, just enough to make an ass of my self. Well anyways, back the the point. Yield is greatly improved in eliminating vermiculite. #1 If you actually use, say STRAIGHT RYE(go figure) you can spawn to other substrates like straw... #2 without cobweb mold creeping in on your casing, not only can you prepare a deeper casing, but also will get more flushes before it contams.

vermiculite \Ver*mic"u*lite\, n. [L. vermiculus, dim. of vermis worm.] (Min.) A group of minerals having, a micaceous structure. They are hydrous silicates, derived generally from the alteration of some kind of mica. So called because the scales, when heated, open out into wormlike forms.

OK so vermiculite is derived from mica =)

Point being, no one really ever studies nutritional values of Psilocybe Cubensis. All of the studies you see pertaining to it and other psychoactive mushrooms relate usually to potency. Most people aren't too concerned about how healthy a finished fruit body is. But I'll tell you this, if you went into a grocery store, would you even consider buying mushrooms that tasted like shit, over the ones that tasted like REALY mushrooms. I know I wouldn't. As the thread gets hotter, we'll see the results..

BTW- For those of you planning on doing a casing layer without vermiculite, heres the #1 challenge you're going to have, no other casings or vermiculite can be present in the room its prepare, incubated, or fruited in. And if vermiculite was previously in these rooms take proper sterilization procedures.

As far as the comment regarding vermiculite in pressure cooking not getting everything killed.. Well typically vermiculite sterilizes just fine. Its the problem with casing layers. You don't really need to sterilize casing layers. Or for that matter, without using vermiculite, I haven't even pastuerized my casings. Now on the other hand, had I used vermiculite in this last batch with no sterilization nor pastuerization, I would have developed cobweb within 24 hours for sure and haven't.

More replys! Keep this thread alive, you might save a fellow shroomerite from eating mushrooms that taste like ASS again!



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OfflineKrupa
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92472 - 02/12/00 05:29 AM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Ripper:
Just thought I'd let you know that I really appreciate your posts. Always something new to think about...
This is a great thread and I hope it keeps generating posts. New ideas are my favorites to read. Keep it up!


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Invisiblemycofile
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92473 - 02/12/00 05:57 AM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Hate to be the buzzkill. But, I'm not sold.
Vermiculite is indeed made from mica, which is fired in extremely hot ovens that makes it explode into it's much expanded shape. The main purpose for putting verm in a casing is for it's superior water holding capabilities, not it's aeration. Look it up if you have TMC orGGMM. Verm holds a good bit more water than peat. Therefore, you can have more water in a casing with verm while still retaining propper consistency than you can with just peat. Remember also that it is usually the lack of moisture rather than nutrients that causes a crop to stop flushing.
I do aggree that it is not needed in many substrates. If you are going to be casing, then you don't need verm in your sub. The only reason it was in pf cakes is because pf doesn't case and wanted a kind of interrior casing. I don't think it needs to be stripped from casing formulas, but it certaintly isn't needed for subs that will be cased.
You may think that verm is predisposed to cobweb, I havn't noticed, but I have noticed that peat is deffinitly predisposed to the forrest green mold. At least in my area, anyone else?
Flavor varies a great deal on different substrates, are you sure it wasn't just the straw that made the difference? It also varries a great deal depending on maturity and environmental conditions. Ever tasted straight verm? It doesn't taste bad, just a little dirty. How would it then make shrooms taste so horrible if it doesn't taste bad itself? Also, any number of things could be growing in the spawn or the casing and these organisms could vary from time to time, thus imparting different flavors. I don't mean full blown contamination, but just a little bit. Or even a bit of fermentation during colonization. Lotsa things change flavors, even on verm cakes/casings.
If you simply wash your shrooms before you dry them you will have no more goldflakes to rip off highschool kids with. After they dry on the stem, the verm flecks do seem embedded. Usually they are just stuck however. I think more than the shrooms sucking up the verm, verm gets stuck to the shroom as it emerges from the casing, then as the mushroom grows, it sometimes grows around the pieces. This will happen regardless of your sub/casing formula. Ask somebody who has fruited uncased straw, for some reason there are always stems of straw stuck inside the stems. I'd rather have a few pieces of verm that you'd barely notice than say a stick from peat moss or a large piece of straw that you can't just chew up and swallow.
Not to diss your idea, it is a good thing to question tradition, but I think that not using verm in a casing is almost akin to spiting tradition. Removing verm from substrates: fine, improving taste by doing so: doubt it, improving sterility: also doubt it, avoiding health effects of verm: not a problem. That's my ideas
Also, I think it's a little early to start preaching to beginners about the evils of verm. Just one person's hypothesis isn't enough of a solid background to start preaching gospel. Telling them that it is not needed for substrates that will be cased is fine, that's obvious and been around for a while (rye, birdseed, BR ala 9er tek). Let's keep the anti-verm sentiments as experimentation until there are more people that agree based on experience than on "sounds plausible".
peaces

------------------
-From a registered Mad Scientist

"From a certain point of view"
-Jedi Master Obiwan Kenobi (also a Mad Scientist tm)



--------------------
"From a certain point of view"
-Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi

PM me with any cultivation questions.

I just looked at my profile and realized I had a website at one point in time on geocities, it's not there anymore and I have no idea what I had on it. Anybody remember my website from several years aga? PM if so please.


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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92474 - 02/12/00 10:34 AM (17 years, 6 months ago)

A couple of things... I do believe it is perlite that has been popped under heat. Which gives it its lava-rock like properties of humidification... also why lava rock has uses in hydroponics. Vermiculite I belive is just ground up mica. And it wouln't be affected by heat treatment. I could be wrong about that, but I am pretty sure I am right about the perlite.

Anyway.. Mycofile: Your absolutly right about vemiculite and the PF formula, but its side benefit was it allowed the use of the flour in the first place over whole grain.. It also functions to allow the mycelium to grow throughout... With just brown rice flour, you would have a solid inpenetrable brick... I doubt it has any role in the taste as well. My guess is that the one batch that tasted good was apparantly grown on straw, spawned with rye... Sounds a lot more reasonable to me that the taste would be affected by something fungus actually ingests, since vermiculite is non-nutrient... Growing on a different substrate is why you noticed a difference in taste...

The cobweb mold absence probably comes from the benificial bacteria present in peat. That is one of the main reasons for using peat in the first place. You don't get this protection in dry vemiculite.

ThE JafF

[This message has been edited by ThE JafF (edited February 12, 2000).]



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InvisibleRipper
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Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92475 - 02/12/00 04:23 PM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Well. In my oppinion vermiculite DOES affect flavour. Reason being, I've grown rice cakes and I've grown bird seed cakes using vermiculite in both substrates, and the mushrooms tasted almost identical. They both had a VERY NASTY taste to them. I do admit the birdseed ones didn't taste AS bad, but they were still nasty. As far as vermiculite not tasting bad, why don't you do this, and I just did for knock on woods sake, go get some vermiculite, say 1/4 of a cup, put it in a glass of water, and let it sit for about 45 minutes, now taste the water. Tell me that doesn't have that same wretched flavour that seems to be present in cake grown shrooms.

As far as Vermiculite supposed "superior water retaining capabilities" you quoted. Stamets says "One half to one part coarse vermiculite can be added to improve the water retaining capacity of thse casing mixtures and can be an aid if fruiting on thinly laid substrates" also on the same page he says that Vermiculite contains 84% water at saturation, and that peat contains 79% water at saturation. This being said, YES vermiculite does hold more water, but its not that much more. He suggests that on thinly laid substrates it should be used. If it was neccesary with a properly applied casing layer then he would state that in the formula, not list it as optional.

As far as the shrooms sucking things up... Well Psilocybe Cubensis in particular has been known to draw things up out of its substrate. Remember when all the MAO inhibitor in substrate experiments were going on. Now these weren't nutrients, and if they were, it would have broke then down. It was just something that was present in the casing layer.

As far as cobweb mold goes, if you guys would read my posts they're pretty self-explanatory, Cobweb mold has spontaneously generated on vermiculite with sterile water added to it, while peat hasn't. Also, cobweb mold has yet to be seen since the elimination of vermiculite. I'm not saying set in stone, vermiculite is where everyone gets their cobweb mold. Just that I know that its not present where I live, and the likelyhood of it being spread throughout the united states so much is VERY unlikely. Its more likely that a common cause of it is its tracked in on something.

As far as your Trichoderma AKA Forest Green mold grows. If you would read TMC you would have noticed that Trichoderma prefers a PH of 4-5.5, meaning that if your casing layer's PH was properly balanced, the likely hood of it showing up is slim to none. And if it did show up its easy to control, simply pouring baking soda on it to raise the pH does the trick.

Stamets also refers to peat casings as being "fairly clean", and not requiring pastuerizations typically. Well the test in progress right now, we'll see if my bed with straight peat moss and limeflour that wasn't pastuerized contaminates.



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Anonymous

Re: Thoughts On Vermiculite In Casings And Substrates [Re: Ripper]
    #92476 - 02/13/00 04:40 AM (17 years, 6 months ago)

Interesting thread. For the most part it doesn't jive with my experience though. I've grown straight grain, whole grain/ vermiculite mixtures (alien type substrate), PF type verm/flour, manure, manure/verm, straw and compost. For casings I've used buffered peat, 50/50, 50/50+, straight vermiculite, and straight potting soil.

I have to say out of the observations in this thread on the draw backs of vermiculite, the only one I can partially agree with is the greater tendency towards cobweb mold in vermiculite casings. My take on this is that cobweb mold is partly parasitic on mycelium, and partly nourished by metabolic gases given off by mycelium. Cobweb is mostly supressed in casing that has balanced bacteria populations. Vermiculite as it comes from a sealed bag can be considered nearly sterile. Cobweb seems to like vermiculite casings because of the favorable gas diffusion and lack of beneficial bacteria. A few months ago I posted on some experiments I did incubating casing material with acetone/ethanol to encourage beneficial bacteria. This prevents cobweb very well for cubensis, and fairly well for Pans.

I would note that vermiculite is totally inert and insoluble. I can't think of a plausible explanation for vermiculite being resonsible for "taste". I have seen vermiculite flakes imbedded in the base of stems, but it never extends above the base next to the casing/substrate.

Vermiculite is very useful in casing and in substrate and nothing I know of can totally replace it. I won't be rushing to eliminate it. I would caution beginners from shying away from vermiculite because of this thread. PF tek type methods are far more foolproof and certain than anything else out there. Don't shy away from vermiculite until you have some successful experience.

DD



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