Director of Mycelium Dispersion

Woman in a blue hard hat standing with her arms on her hips

Job title: Director of Mycelium Dispersion

Department: Engineering

Reports to: Chief Executive of Fungus Growing

Job summary

As the Director of Mycelium Dispersion, your job is to spread the fungal mycelium throughout the straw. This is to give your fungus the best possible chance of using the nutrients available so it can grow nice and big. Yours is a small role within the wider team, but a key one.

Duties & responsibilities

  • Once the straw has been pasteurised, you need to be ready with the fungal mycelium.
  • Check that all the excess water has been squeezed out.
  • Sprinkle the fungal mycelium into the straw and shake really, really well.
  • Once you are confident that the mycelium has been evenly dispersed within the straw, tie up the bag and pop it into the kit box, with the breathable patch facing up.
  • Find a warm and convenient spot for your fungus to sit for the next 4 weeks. You will want to be able to watch its growth, so not too hidden away.
  • Take an active and constructive role in the team. This could include: helping to name your fungus once the mushroom starts growing; sharing photos and thoughts online; picking up the slack if any team members need a helping hand.

The science bit

The mycelium will grow into the straw as it explores its new territory and begins to digest it. If the mycelium is not dispersed, but simply added to the straw, it should eventually be able to reach and grow into all the straw supplied in the kit, unless it meets any competitors not killed by the pasteurisation process. However, by dispersing the mycelium and adding it as several pieces, its growth into the straw is speeded up. This means there is less chance of competitors becoming established and attacking the oyster mushroom’s mycelium.

In the wild

Being able to see the mycelium growing and expanding into new territory within the straw supplied with your kit is an unusual opportunity. In the wild you can’t see the mycelia of oyster mushrooms, and other fungi that feed on dead wood and leaves, because they are either hidden away inside dead branches and tree trunks, or within layers of fallen leaves in the soil.

Fungal mycelia in dead wood usually reveal themselves when they fight with their neighbours, where the battles produce dark lines (war zones) which mark the mycelial boundaries. These are usually seen when dead twigs are broken open or decayed trunks are sawn down – or when the wood is used to make decorative wooden bowls and offered for sale at craft fairs!

Read about the other job roles:

Chief Executive of Fungus Growing
Fridge Monitor in Chief
Pasteurisation Executive
Vice-President of Fungal Hydration