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How to Grow Cordyceps militaris

Guide to using Rootlab’s cordyceps militaris grow kit

Please use this guide and FAQs to assist you in using our kit. Remember that this kit is designed for educational purposes to introduce you to the world of medicinal mushrooms. Always adhere to safety guidelines and do further research where necessary when consuming them as tincture or powder.

Watch the instruction video to learn more

Step-by-step-instructions

Rootlab cordycep kit with container, Substrate, Alcohol and cordyceps militaris syringe.

Step 1: Setup

Unpack all items and familiarise yourself with the process by visiting our blog and watching the instructional video.
Sanitise your work surface with the isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) provided with the kit. Store alcohol safely away from children and pets. This alcohol is not for consumption and is also highly flammable, so keep it away from any naked flame.
Clean your work surface, gloves, scissors, substrate, and syringe with fresh paper towels, as shown in the video.

Cutting Codryceps Substrate bag
Cordyceps Substrate edited scaled cordyceps militaris grow kit

Step 2: Substrate Preparation

  1. Use sanitised scissors to cut the corner of the substrate bag.
  2. Open one container at a time and pour half the substrate in. It should be around 2 cm deep. Try not to get the substrate on the side wall. If some substrate gets stuck on the side wall, ignore it and do not attempt to clean it up to avoid risking contamination. Your main goal is to divide the substrate and the extra liquid in the substrate equally. Do not put all the liquid from the substrate in one container, as this will mean nothing is left for the other container. If you wish to do this step simultaneously with 2 containers to divide them equally, you can.
  3. Ensure the lid is popped back on as soon as possible, as leaving it open will increase the chances of contamination.
  4. Do the above steps quickly and perform it in a room that is still. Ensure no air-conditioning or fan is turned on, or any window is left open.
Cordyceps substrate in container edited scaled cordyceps militaris grow kit

Step 3: Leveling the Substrate

  1. Tap the container until the substrate is somewhat flat. Uneven surfaces are fine; they won’t affect mushroom growth; they will just affect the aesthetics.
inoculating cordyceps in container edited cordyceps militaris grow kit
Cordyceps Syringe edited scaled cordyceps militaris grow kit
Cordyceps Growing top view

Step 4: Inoculation

  1. Inject 5 ml of the syringe contents into each container by removing the cap.
  2. Seal the lids of the substrate container; they must remain closed to avoid contamination. You may need to press down firmly on all around the lid to ensure it is sealed. Don’t put too much pressure; the container will break.
  3. Once the substrate has been inoculated, place it underneath light for 12 hours straight and then in darkness for 12 hours straight each day. The light source should not emit heat.
Cordyceps View top view1 edited scaled cordyceps militaris grow kit
Cordyceps pinning in the container

Step 5: Monitoring

  1. Label each container with the date it was inoculated.
  2. Set a reminder for 45 days to check on the mushrooms for signs of growth. Monitor meanwhile for contamination.

Step 6: Research and Community

  1. Begin researching tincture preparation and join relevant Facebook groups.
  2. Please do not ask for tincture-making support from us (this area is out of our scope), and make sure to research proper dosages and safety for pets, children and adults independently.
Cordyceps fruiting in the container
Cordyceps fruiting out of the container

Step 7: Harvesting and storage

  1. At around the 60-day mark, loosen the cake from the container sides and remove it.
  2. Cut the mushrooms from the base and store them wrapped in a fresh paper towel.
  3. For maximum nutritional benefits, keep the harvested mushrooms in a zip-lock bag(wrapped in a paper towel) in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  4. You can also dehydrate your mushroom if you may.

Step 8: Next Steps

  1. Consider buying your own liquid culture and start growing Cordyceps at home on your own. You are not a beginner anymore, after all. You have grown one of the most difficult to grow mushrooms.
  2. We will answer all your questions relating to growing them via phone (Jae 0416 399 905), email (info@rootlab.com.au), or website chat.

Cordyceps Grow Kit FAQ

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No, you can't.
Making tincture or cooking will kill the contamination but will not destroy the toxic substance contamination can secrete. Since we do not know what contamination is inside, please play it safe. Don't use and discard it.

Yes, if you clean them with warm, soapy water and a soft sponge and sterilise them with a germicidal UV light. Replace the micropore tape with a fresh one.

The containers cannot be autoclaved.
You can try cleaning it up with isopropyl alcohol post-wash and bypass UV sterilisation to reuse them, but understand it's not a 100% guarantee it will work.

Technically, yes, but it is not recommended. Our substrate is designed for fruit production, not direct mycelium consumption.
If we were to eat the mycelium, we would have designed our substrate very differently and let it only produce mycelium and not fruits.

Drying and powdering Cordyceps is out of the kit's scope and requires deep knowledge of oxidation, heat, and other factors to preserve potency.
If you do wish to dry and powder Cordyceps, you may, but please do your own research. Our part is to help you grow.

The recommended temperature for growing the Cordyceps is 10-20°C, with slower growth leading to a higher concentration of medicinal compounds.
Slower growth happens when the temperature is in the early 10’s.

The kit is designed to require minimal maintenance once set up, only needing to be checked for contamination.
We also check for mushroom pinning around 45 days.

If you haven’t started using the kit yet, it needs to be used within a week (for the best results) or up to a maximum of 3 weeks.
Cordyceps are also extremely sensitive to light and begin changing colour to orange from white and undergo some major changes in their structure, so the syringe must always be stored in a dark environment before being used. Additionally, the kit or its contents should never be placed in the fridge.

The fruits however can be stored in the fridge.

 

Harvest is expected between 45-60 days, and the yield from one container is between 10-45 grams (fresh) approx, suitable for making tinctures that can last for at least two months.

Our recommendation:

Once inoculated, the container with the mycelium should be placed in light for 12 hours and then darkness for 12 hours each day(12/12 cycle). This cycle should be continued until the mushrooms can be harvested.

Other option:

After inoculating the container, some people start by putting the container in complete darkness in a wardrobe and then on day 3 begin exposing it to light on 12/12 cycle.

Some people succeed more when their mycelium is kept in darkness first and then exposed to light. We recommend putting it straight into light as it has performed better with our tests and culture. However, it is up to you which method you wish to follow.
If you choose to, you may place one of your containers in darkness for the first 3 days and then one immediately in light. If you do this, do not forget to label your containers according to whether they were placed in darkness or light immediately to know which method worked best for you.

 

It should take approximately 5 minutes to read the growing guide, 5 minutes to watch the instruction video, 10 minutes to clean all equipment using the alcohol spray bottle and set up the kit, and finally, it should take about 5 minutes to harvest.

You may additionally require some time to research cordyceps, its benefits, side effects, and ways to consume it.

Remember, the magic is in the broth. The cordyceps culture broth(Liquid culture) provided to you in the syringe is prepared differently than normal liquid culture. It has a mix of over 7 ingredients, but we will provide you the recipe here to make your substrate. This recipe is a little different and simpler than the one Rootlab uses in its kit.

Recipe to fill 5-6 round takeaway containers-

  • Brown Rice- 200gms
  • Water with potato- 600ml (Boil potatoes with water, remove before they are overcooked, slow heat around 20-30 mins)
  • Glucose Syrup- 25ml
  • Yeast- 5gms (Can be replaced with Vitamin B1 tablet-grinded)
  • Soy Peptone- 5gms
  • Azomite- 1gms (Available from our website)

Equipment required- Pressure cooker, mushroom bag UVC light (optional) and Blue and Red LED light (optional)

Instructions-

Before sterilisation-

1) Wash 2 medium potatoes and cut into 4 pieces each (peeling not required). Boil with around 600 ml of water. Let it cool down until it's warm, then add the 25ml glucose syrup to it so that it can dissolve completely.

2) Wash 200 grams of brown rice 4-5 times before leaving it to dry.

3) In a container, add yeast, peptone and azomite. Pour in the potato water that has glucose syrup added to it.

4) In a mushroom bag, add brown rice first and then pour in the liquid you prepared in Step 3.

5) Sterilise in a pressure cooker at 15 PSI/121 C for about 45 minutes to an hour.

After sterilisation-

6) In front of a clean Laminar flow hood, add the cooked substrate into the takeaway containers by cutting the corner of the mushroom bag. You can clean the takeaway container with boiled water and lots of isopropyl alcohol. We use UVC light to completely kill all the contamination in the takeaway container by exposing it for around 30 minutes.

7) Once you have added the substrate to these takeaway containers (around 2 cm), pour in the liquid culture (once cooled).

Yes, you can but remember the broth used to make cordyceps differs from normal liquid culture. Cordyceps does not perform well when expanded multiple times or when exposed to light unless fruiting or when kept in a low nutritional environment.

Rootlab's Liquid culture for Cordyceps is from a master culture and has not been expanded, and uses 7 ingredient broth.

Cordyceps are referred to as medicinal mushrooms, meaning they are consumed for health rather than culinary reasons (It is important to note that 'medicinal mushrooms' is not a euphemism for psychedelic. These mushrooms are not psychedelic). While we can't list the medicinal benefits of cordyceps to abide by Australian Law, which is very restrictive in this regard, I am sure you are here because you have heard or know how amazing these mushrooms are and what they are capable of.

The mushrooms won't be ready for at least 45 days. Harvesting them after 45-60 days is ideal. Another sign your mushrooms could be ready is at least 3 mushrooms are 4 cm in length or above. (although this is not always a 100% reliable sign).

You will need to get a sterile petri dish to collect cordyceps spores. Put some Vaseline in the inner part of the lid and stick one cordyceps mushroom harvested at 45 days. Close the petri dish with parafilm and let it drop spores on a sterile surface for 15 days. After 15 days, the mushroom would have shrivelled up and dropped all of its spores. Using a sterile cotton swab, collect the invisible spore from the bottom of the petri dish and roll it on an agar plate. Watch your spores grow.

Shop Cordyceps Kit

Owner of Rootlab

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2 Responses

  1. Its like you read my mind You appear to know a lot about this like you wrote the book in it or something I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit but instead of that this is fantastic blog An excellent read I will certainly be back

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