As you begin your cultivation journey, you may hear references to “spore syringes” and “liquid culture syringes”. The difference between the two may be confusing, especially as they can at times be interchangeable or used for similar processes. Both can be used for inoculation, but only one of the two can have truly sterile origins, not to mention the very different legal umbrella each one falls under. We’ve written up a post to clarify the matter and put some order to the chaos!
To get a better understanding of the difference between spores and liquid culture, let’s take a quick look at the lifecycle of a mushroom.
Spore syringes are syringes that contain mushroom spores that are suspended in sterile water. As there are no nutrients in the water, the spores do not germinate in the syringe. Spore syringes are commonly used to transport and distribute spores around the world. Interestingly, the spores themselves do not contain psilocybin or psilocyn, which means that in some countries they are not prohibited. Spore syringes can be kept for 8-12 months.
Due to the fact that collecting spores does not happen in sterile conditions, spore syringes are not considered to be reliably contaminant-free. For this reason, it is always recommended to germinate them first and verify their sterility before using them further along the cultivation process.
A Liquid Culture Syringe is a syringe which contains live mycelium suspended in sterile liquid nutrient water. The liquid mycelium looks like a fluffy or cloudy cotton-ball. The mycelium will continue to grow in the liquid culture syringe until all the nutrients are consumed, at which point it might stagnate. For this reason, Liquid Culture Syringes should be stored in the refrigerator when not in use, in order to slow down the mycelium growth and keep it viable.
The mycelium of magic mushrooms contains trace amounts of psilocybin or psilocyn, which means that they are prohibited in most countries. This is an important topic you need to check with your local laws and regulations. In countries such as Greece, Netherlands, Austria, Bahamas, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Jamaica, Nepal and Samoa, both cultivation and consumption of magic mushrooms are legal. These laws and regulations are changing rapidly, with Canada and several states in the US now decriminalizing psychedelics all together.