Working with mushroom spores can introduce new complexities into your amateur microscopy hobby, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing by any means. Studying viable specimens (and, ostensibly, keeping them in a viable state) will teach you a lot about handling research subjects with delicate properties.
Psilocybin mushroom spores are a great way to learn these skills, since they have varying degrees of overall robustness. For example, B+ spores, which originated in the wilderness of Florida, are known for their general versatility. These spores are more resistant to contamination and can tolerate a wider range of temperatures than many of their cousins.
Conversely, a spore strain like Albino Penis Envy (APE) is usually considered to require more patience in the lab due to its more challenging properties. Nevertheless, many amateur microscopists have reported that our APE strain is a joy to study once one conquers the initial hurdles in the lab.
Here’s the point: these differences give you the flexibility to work with a spore strain with characteristics that match your level of skill and comfort. Few other microscopy specimens offer such a wide degree of variability, so it’s easy to understand why our psilocybin mushroom spores are so popular!
Having said that, you will of course want to do your best to take care of your spore specimens for the optimal educational experience. In today’s post, we’ll be answering a number of common questions, many of which are related to proper storage and handling of your mushroom spores.
Let’s get started by addressing one of the most common questions we get asked here at Quality Spores:
Can Mushroom Spores Go Bad?
In other words, how long do mushroom spores last?
In this context, “going bad” refers to anytime after the period during which a spore specimen is viable—i.e., as close to the state in which it would be if it was discovered in nature.
A great many factors play a part in how long mushroom spores last, including but not limited to how and where the spores are stored, whether the spores are in a print or a syringe, temperatures, and the unique characteristics of the strain itself.
With that in mind, properly sealed spore prints tend to last substantially longer than spore syringes; at least a few years, with some anecdotal evidence suggesting that a lifetime of nearly ten years is possible.
Spore syringes, like the ones we carry at Quality Spores, should generally be stored in your refrigerator (or at least a cool, dry place if you plan to study them immediately) and be used within no more than 30 days. This is, of course, a general recommendation—mycologists have reported observing viable spores from a syringe which has been refrigerated for up to a year.
Since spore syringes are generally much easier to use than spore prints, they are generally preferred by amateur microscopists despite their shorter shelf life.
Can You Freeze Mushroom Spores?
If your goal is to study viable psilocybin mushroom spores, freezing is almost always a bad idea. While it’s possible that frozen spores may still be viable after having been frozen, it’s just as likely that they won’t be.
The strain makes a difference, but so does the kind of freezer being used. Most household freezers have temperature cycles which can cause the aqueous solution to crack and damage the spores, whereas deep freezers (the chest-style freezers people often keep in their garages) often maintain a constant temperature.
Regardless, we do not recommend freezing your spores if at all possible.
What’s the Best Way to Store Mushroom Spores?
The best place to store a spore syringe is in your refrigerator. We recommend studying our spores as soon as possible after you receive them, but as we discussed above, you can expect refrigerated syringes to last for up to 30 days and often longer.
How Do Mushroom Spores Germinate?
As law abiding amateur microscopists, we of course want to always be very sure that our mushroom spores never germinate—at least not to the point where they begin to form mycelium or fruiting bodies, as those stages of development contain psilocybin (unlike the spores) and are thus illegal in the vast majority of the United States.
If you need to brush up on your legal knowledge concerning psilocybin mushroom spores, which we highly recommend that you do, we’ve prepared two detailed resources for you:
Please keep in mind that the legalities surrounding psilocybin are in a seemingly constant state of flux; for example, not even a couple of weeks prior to the time of this writing both Oregon and Washington D.C. passed psilocybin-related initiatives related to decriminalization or legalization for licensed therapeutic applications. See our post Washington, D.C. and Oregon Psilocybin Initiatives Approved: What it Means for You for all the details.
Having said all that, here’s the good news: there’s exceedingly little chance of “accidental” spore germination in your amateur microscopy lab. Mushroom spores germinate only after being placed in a suitable substrate (such as agar or grain in a lab setting), having enough moisture, temperature control, and so on.
Resources For Learning More About Amateur Microscopy & Psilocybin Mushroom Spores
We hope that this post has helped to answer some of your questions about mushroom spores and amateur microscopy. As questions continue to come in from readers like you, we’ll likely publish similar Q&A’s in the future—so keep an eye out here on The Psilocybe Philosophy!
If you’re new to the amateur microscopy hobby or you’d just like to learn more, we’ve prepared plenty of resources to help you get started. A great place to begin is with our article Amateur Microscopy which will give you a good overview of how to get started in the hobby. For a longer, more detailed look at some of the most important things beginners need to know, read our three part blog series The Complete Guide to Amateur Microscopy and Studying Psilocybin Mushroom Spores.
Alternatively, you can dive right in and start learning right away. Shop our selection of microscopy equipment and pick out a few exotic mushroom spore syringes and you’ll be ready for the educational experience of a lifetime!