# How to Store Spore Prints of Mushrooms
Spore prints are a valuable resource for mushroom enthusiasts and growers. They are used to identify mushroom species and can also be used to cultivate mushrooms. However, storing spore prints properly is crucial to maintain their viability and prevent contamination. In this article, we will discuss the best practices for storing spore prints of mushrooms.
## 1. Dry the Spore Prints
To store spore prints, the first step is to ensure they are thoroughly dried. Place the spore print on a clean, non-porous surface like aluminum foil or glass. Allow the print to dry completely, usually for 12-24 hours. This step is important to prevent moisture and fungal growth during storage.
## 2. Use airtight containers
Once the spore prints are dry, transfer them to airtight containers. Ziplock bags are commonly used for this purpose. Make sure the bags are clean and free from debris or contaminants. Place the dried spore prints in the bags and seal them tightly to create an airtight environment.
## 3. Store in a Cool and Dark Place
To maintain the potency and viability of spore prints, it is essential to store them in a cool and dark place. Heat and light can degrade spores over time, leading to reduced viability. Therefore, choose a location away from direct sunlight, preferably a cool closet or a refrigerator.
## 4. Label and Date the Containers
To keep track of your spore prints, it is advisable to label the containers with the date and mushroom species. This will help you identify and organize your collection effectively. Use waterproof markers or labels to ensure the information remains visible and intact.
## 5. Avoid Contamination
Contamination can significantly reduce the viability of spore prints. Therefore, it is crucial to handle them with clean hands or wear sterile gloves. Preventing contact with moisture, dust, and other contaminants will help maintain the integrity and longevity of the spores.
## 6. Refresh the Spores Periodically
Over time, the viability of spore prints may decrease. To ensure their continued viability, it is recommended to refresh the spores periodically. This can be done by transferring a small portion of the spore print onto a fresh substrate or agar plate.
In conclusion, storing spore prints of mushrooms properly is vital for their longevity and viability. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your spore prints remain viable and ready for future use. Remember to maintain cleanliness, avoid contamination, and protect them from heat and light. Happy mushroom growing!