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Mushroom Cultivation Automation [video] (youtube.com)
98 points by patrickk 24 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 36 comments

What a great video. I appreciate the care and effort that went into this.

If you are interested in growing some oyster mushrooms, you can pick up a self-contained growing kit for ~US$20. It's not difficult, and it really is a lot of fun to mist your babies and watch them grow over your sink. They really are delicious simply sautéed in some butter and garlic.

> a self-contained growing kit

For a more "hacker" experience with mycology I highly recommend starting from a spore syringe/spore print, but doing every part of the process yourself. You can grow any of a wide variety of mushrooms and it's really cool to understand the details of creating a sterile environment for the spores, creating the substrate, and following a wide range of "Teks" for varying difficulty.

Most of the online documentation is coming from people aiming to grow p. cubensis (aka magic mushrooms), but the techniques will work equally well with many food varieties (especially oyster).

The BRF (Brown Rice Flour) Tek is a good place to start, and you'll quickly begin to see how wild you can get with home mycology. Once you grow your first batch you can easily make your own spore prints, and start doing very fascinating stuff with home made agar (cloning, inspecting genetics, cleaning out contaminants, spawning spores, etc). There is also a fairly large range of options for automating the process with electronics if that's the kind of thing you enjoy.

If you get really experienced you can start taking spore prints of local native species and then growing them at home from spores! It's a far deeper hobby than I would have imagined, you can start from something very simple that just takes a few hours to start and can reasonably end up closer to something like this video than you can imagine!

Can confirm. The oyster mushroom kits sold are Lowe’s and Home Depot are fun, nearly foolproof, and much more delicious than any mushrooms I’ve bought at the grocery store.

There are many mushroom varieties that look similar but with completely different dietary properties, some being downright toxic. Many years ago, an agriculture research team approached me to develop a machine learning classifier to determine which mushrooms were safe to harvest and eat -- this was meant to help rural farmers and foragers. Unfortunately, the project didn't go anywhere AFAIK.

I wonder what the state of the art on this front is. Surely, someone must have come up with some solution (machine learning or not)?

There have been unusually many mushrooms around our house due to an extra wet season, which is making me want to try picking some, but I'm terrified of the risks. Maybe it's just one of those things I should let slide.

Foraging is a great hobby as long as you approach it with respect. With mushrooms, you start by learning a few foolproof species that have no close lookalikes, and then you learn species by species from there. After a few years of doing it regularly, you'll be pretty comfortable IDing (with a field guide, and occasional help from a good Facebook group -- most regions have a good one, and you need one that's fairly close to you because they'll know the ones that grow near you). I started getting interested around 2013, but didn't eat a foraged mushroom until 2016. I've eaten around 30 different species that I've foraged at this point, all from my area (most within a mile and a half of my house).

Nope. Nope. Nope. No way is a mushroom from outside passing my lips. Good god they all look the same and even if they don't - are you 99.999999999999 percent sure?

Nitpick: a healthy young person has ballpark 1 in 10 thousand chance of dying per year. So it's enough to be 99.9999% sure because extra nines don't really make your life safer.

I'm personally willing to throw a couple of 9's on that figure to avoid dying the mushroom death.

This is one reason I generally advise beginners to learn the few deadly mushroom species alongside any edible ones they're learning, and why some edible mushrooms are considered to be for more advanced foragers because of the possibility of confusion for beginners. But there are many species of edible mushrooms with zero toxic (much less deadly) lookalikes, which is where people generally start.

If you learn just a few things about mushrooms, they stop looking the same. Also, there are only a handful of deadly mushrooms in any given region, and you can learn those specific species as well. It's not that hard to get to 99.9999999% sure that you're eating an edible species.

An old Check proverb says something like: all mushrooms are edible; some of them only once :-)

That one and "there are old mushroom hunters and bold mushroom hunters, but no old, bold mushroom hunters" get told about once per day per thousand people in any online mushroom group.

Agree. Better safe than sorry. If you don't have a minimum experience in mycology don't do culinary experiments.

Yes... and -- the minimum experience needed to identify, say, chicken of the woods (Laetiporus spp.), chanterelles (Cantharellus spp.), or lion's mane/bear's tooth/coral tooth (Hericium spp.) is very, very low.

Like many other things, finding a mentor is really the way to learn. I have gone picking with people who have done it for years and not only are they much better at finding 'the good ones' than I would be (even if I was confident I had the right species), they knew what to avoid.

my makerspace in victoria, bc runs classes on dna barcoding for fungal identification. About $12 per id when all is done.

Very interesting video on wild mushrooms cultivation from picking, sterilization chamber making,inoculation samples making, inoculation process, growing chamber making with control and monitoring systems, grain spawn preparation, mushrooms growing and last but not least cooking with time lapsed video!

Mycodo open source IoT monitoring, control and automation system based on RPi being used in the video [1], and previous discussion on HN [2].



PSA: It is legal to purchase p. cubensis spores for microscopy use in most of the USA.

Beautiful! When I clicked the link I was vaguely hopeful that this is something I could build myself. The moment he started cutting the aluminum frame I knew better. The video is great though, watching the mushrooms grow is absolutely mesmerizing.

There was a guy years ago taking spent coffee grinds from local coffee shops and doing essentially this, but growing blue oysters instead. I can’t seem to find it now, but the idea of using such readily available waste was interesting to me and I’ve wanted to try it since.

As I recall the coffee didn’t support as many flushes as wood chips or grain, but given that it was essentially free it seemed like it was still a good option.

At any rate, this was great - mushrooms always get the gears turning. Some day I’d love to get something like this going. My family eats so many mushrooms.

I really like the mycelium bag slit approach to fruiting, I had never seen this done, I'm sure it's common enough but it is a wonderful idea.

For those of you unaware the guy who made this video maintains Mycodo, an absolutely amazing piece of software for automating and monitoring sensors and actuators of basically any kind.


Amazing video. I don't have much to add but I love this.

That growth timelapse reminds me of some cool generative art: https://sagejenson.com/physarum

Obviously inspired by slime molds but just so cool nonetheless.

The 'Fantastic Fungi' movie (available on Netflix, https://www.netflix.com/title/81183477 and likely other places too) has some awesome mushroom timelapse sequences too, as well as being generally interesting if you want to know more about mycology.

Question for hobbyist mushroom growers: how essential are all those steps he took to ensure a pure culture? Is it common for wild harvested mushrooms to have competing organisms that would overwhelm them?

The trick while working with microorganisms (which mushroom producing fungus are) is sterile technique. Any work you do in preparation needs to be controlled in a sterile environment. Basically all the parts where he worked under the hood are what you care about.

Building a hood like that is expensive. I used a cheap approach, a plastic tub with holes cut in it and kitchen gloves taped in, inserted all my working tools and materials and sprayed it with rubbing alcohol and worked in it sealed. It is less effective than a positive pressure hood like the one built in the video, but it is reasonably effective.

I know someone that doesn't even do this, she turns all fans and air conditioners off for an hour (to stop air currents), then walks deliberately, prepares her workspace which is a countertop sanitized with alcohol, and uses technique surgeons use. She also gets good results.

In the wild, mushrooms send billions of spores, but you don't see the same species dominate a landscape, because they're all always competing and where one colony is successful is luck of the draw. Of course what you are going for is a 1:1 chance that you're growing what you want, so you cannot have any competition at all.

Most of the steps can be skipped with some added risk. Most critical is clean samples and the initial substrate.

I have a friend with 20x5gal buckets of Oysters he keeps in rotation in a greenhouse. He preps the first growth in his kitchen using sterile substrate in jars. He discards bad samples before transfer to the 5 gallon buckets. For the 5 gallon buckets, he uses nonsterile bulk from a woodchipper.

Mold is the big competitor for soggy wood, and come in at any part of the process.

Here is a much easier build:


Good video. I was wondering if you know how many harvests/flushes can one get out of a bucket? Then should one discard the remaining stuff in the bucket or can they be used for something else? Or can the woodchips be revitalized with some more fresh mycelium?

Is very common, yes. Sterilization and clean working space are required.

The main problem here would be the economics of the system, but the man in the video knows what is doing. He has probably been trained in lab techniques. Can be seen in clever details like taking the second sample far away from the first triangle sampled (to avoid contamination never returning to a part visited yet).

Another smart trick is to avoid picking the spores from the lamella. Some fungus are parasitic of edible fungus and live over its host lamella.

You will be met with nothing but sorrow until you get some sort of sterile procedure in place.

Yes, there are many organisms that would overwhelm the mushrooms you "want". There are mushroom spores covering every inch of earth. Mushrooms have a very specific lifecycle and your job as the mushroom grower is to make those chance occurrences a regular thing.

The good news is its really pretty easy to do on a small scale.

Ok so this video is fun but it is showing the very standardized process for edible mushroom cultivation. There really isn't much automation going on here.

And from what I understood from the video – an incredible time consuming with a lot of manual tasks. Pretty minimal automation.

The raspberry pi part was pretty cool.

cool. i want to do some mushroom automation, but in the woods. trying to dream up an automated pulley system to force fruit some inoculated logs in a spring while i'm gone during the week. now that i'm sharing this out loud, might be overly complicated. this system might be a better way to do it.

Awesome video. Loved the final yummy product at the end!

Anyone do the math to get a cost on the flow hood and growing chamber?

Oh, someone doing exactly like I had in mind too, how cool. :D

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