Microscopy offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of microscopic mushroom spores, revealing details invisible to the naked eye. Microscopy is one of the easiest and most enjoyable science hobbies that anyone can take up. If you’re just getting started studying mushroom spores, this guide will show you everything you need to know.
Examining Spores Under a Microscope
The first thing you’ll need is a microscope, of course. You can find a used microscope by searching online auction sites in your area. Chances are that you will get one that belonged to a school or a research institution since they may put their used equipment up for sale when they upgrade to the latest ones. A microscope with 1000x magnification is a great start, so avoid any other types of microscopes that are marketed as toys or for kids. They won’t offer the type of resolution you need for your mushroom spores.
Along with your microscope, consider buying glass slides even if they came with the microscope or not. Slides are very affordable and can be purchased online as well, plus a dust cover to protect the sensitive lenses of the microscope and extra illuminator bulbs to ensure you have very few distractions when you’re conducting your observations. To be on the safe side, also add a box of disposable lens tissues to clean your microscope in case of dust or grime. In total, your starting budget should be about $500, which is great for amateur microscopy.
How to Buy Mushroom Spores
Mushroom spores can be purchased online from different sources, but be sure to check that they sell the spores purely for research or education purposes. This will ensure the best quality and variety of spores and a consistent supply for your microscopy uses. Check out our Mushroom Spores for sale!
Mushroom spores are sold as either syringes or spore prints. Mushroom spore syringes are basically an oral syringe that has spores suspended in distilled water. These syringes must be sterilized because spores are sensitive to contamination by mold or bacteria. Typically, you’ll find spore syringes sold in packs of three or four 10cc syringes with 1.5-inch sterilized needles to make it easier to apply the spores to your slides. On the other hand, Mushroom spore prints have the spores stamped onto paper and dried, so to use them, you must hydrate the prints and extract the solution onto your microscope slides. While you can extract your own, it’s just easier to buy them in either syringe or print form.
Some mushroom spores also come with legal restrictions, and you’ll find that most genuine suppliers will not ship magic mushroom spores to California, Idaho, and Georgia, where possession of these spores or mushroom spore syringes is illegal. These sites will also refuse to ship the spores to anyone who intends to grow the spores without proper permission. Please check the regulations in your location.
Types of Microscopic Mushroom Spores to Study
One of the most popular, versatile, and adaptable is the B+ mushroom spores, and it does well for beginners because it is perhaps the easiest to study. It can thrive in a wider range of temperatures than many others and can be found in the wild as well.
The White Teacher mushroom spores are for a more experienced mushroom spore microscopy enthusiast because their spores are more translucent and need a practiced eye to study them. The White Teacher is a hybrid strain that comes from the Golden Teacher Mushroom Spores and the Albino Penis Envy strains. The spores are visually stunning, and you are bound to enjoy studying them too.
A favorite among advanced microscopists is the Penis Envy (PE) strain which is related to the spores mentioned above, not just because of its interesting name that refers to the shape of the mushroom, but because of its beautiful microstructures. PE requires a very experienced eye because its high popularity means that you’ll need to know the genuine spores under the microscope to avoid scams. Once you understand mushroom spores in general and a grasp of genetics, you can identify PE spores much easier and get the most value for your purchase.
These are only three of almost 200 types of mushroom spores, so this can become a long-lasting and sustainable hobby to study using your microscope. As long as the spores are strictly for educational purposes, they are legal to purchase in most US states. Some spores become illegal only when they’re germinated and produce mycelium, which is the lace-like webbing that you may find on rotting tree trunks or underground. From the mycelium come the mushrooms themselves.
When shopping for mushroom spores, contact the provider directly and ask about their products to check for quality, and your best bet is to buy from vendors who supply research institutions. For the best value, buy mushroom spore syringes that offer microscopy kits, so you’ll receive your syringes plus glass slides, protective cases, and instructions on how to view the spores under your microscope.
Now that you know the basic tools and types of spores to begin your microscopy hobby, always ensure that you get the right spores every time you purchase.