SPORES IN THE HOOD
A home mycology lab might
not make you a fun guy, but
it can help you grow your
Mushrooms are the reproduc-
tive organs (fruiting bodies) of a
much larger organism — a network
of cells, called the mycelium, that
lives underground or inside dead and
dying trees and digests cellulose and
other plant matter. When it rains, the
mycelium starts to grow a fruiting
body. This is why mushrooms
seem to grow so fast.
The fruiting body
creates and disperses millions
of spores. The wind carries them
to new locations, where some
will germinate and grow into new
mycelium. Unlike plant seeds, spores
are microscopic and nearly invisible,
so it’s no surprise that human
agriculture developed with
plants rather than fungi.
A Fortress of Clean
It seems strange that we need a clean
space to grow things that emerge from
dirt or dead tree flesh. But countless
microorganisms and spores fill the world
around us, and only a sterile environment
allows us to grow certain organisms in a
controlled, reproducible manner.
Our clean box acts as a fortress — inside
the enclosed environment, purified air is
drawn in through a HEPA filter on one side,
which traps the living microorganisms,
dirt, and spores floating around.
The purifier’s fan maintains positive
airflow out of all the box’s other openings, which gives airborne germs no way
of getting in.