Mushroom Business Equipment: Essential Gear for Serious Growth

Autoclaves in various capacity for mushroom cultivation

Mushroom Business Equipment: Essential Gear for Serious Growth

The right lab equipment is key to a thriving mushroom cultivation business.

But there are dozens of theoretically helpful devices.

Which ones are actually worth investing in? Do you need to practically take out a second mortgage for name-brand gear straight out of a biosafety lab? Or scrimp and save with jury-rigged gadgets from eBay? 

Based on purchase patterns and customer feedback, two pieces of equipment offer huge efficiency and consistency improvements for the money:

  • A laminar flow clean bench
  • An autoclave

This guide will introduce you to their design, terminology, and common alternatives. We’ll also highlight a couple of customer favorites from our own line.

What is mushroom culture in brief?

Since you found your way to this article, we assume you’re plenty familiar. But in case not, here’s the gist of this hobby and business model.

Mushroom culture, or fungiculture, is the deliberate and strategic growing of mushrooms (or other fungi). You can think of it as the organized, calculated counterpart to wild mushroom foraging.

As a business, mushroom culture is usually for food or medicinal purposes. Materials scientists are also exploring mushrooms’ structural properties, but that’s not (yet) a common purpose for growing.

Whatever the ends of your business, success depends on immaculate and consistent sterilization. Otherwise, microbes in your environment stand to contaminate your crop or outcompete the desired microbes.

And that’s where laboratory equipment enters the picture.

What is a laminar flow hood?

A laminar flow hood provides steady (“laminar”) airflow that’s free of potential contaminants. It reduces the risk of undesired organisms during substrate inoculation, incubation, and culturing.

The more proper term is “laminar flow clean bench” (LFCB), since the hood itself is just one part of the set-up.

Sometimes, LFCBs are mistakenly referred to as fume hoods. But fume hoods pull air away from the work area, so they’re entirely different devices for different situations.

For a closer look at clean bench design, visit our LFCB overview for mushroom growers.

What’s the difference between a fan filter unit vs. laminar flow hood bench?

Fan filter units are a common, inexpensive alternative to a laminar flow hood/bench. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but the devices are actually quite different.

Both pull air through a filter (typically HEPA) and distribute it over a work area. The key difference is the quality of the airstream.

  • A fan unit creates turbulent airflow, meaning filtered and unfiltered air may swirl together.
  • A laminar unit creates stream-like airflow, so only filtered air passes over the sample.

Laminar flow benches are more complex and costly to build, but they’re simply more effective at reducing contamination risk.

Fan filter units are preferable to completely unfiltered air, but they’re inadequate for commercial mushroom cultivation.

It’s also possible to purchase a laminar flow hood alone, and incorporate it into a DIY clean bench. That’s a reasonable middle ground in terms of both cost and effectiveness. However, getting the aerodynamics right isn’t a trivial matter. For many growers, a plug-and-play LFCB is well worth the added cost.

What safety features come with the SH laminar flow clean bench?

A key safety feature in all our recommended LFCBs is automatic UV lighting.

Ultraviolet light is a powerful decontaminant, but prolonged exposure can lead to skin and eye damage. We’ve configured the UV lamp to shut off automatically when the door is open, but remain on while it’s closed.

What’s the most commonly used sterilizer for mushroom growing?

Pressure cookers are the most commonly used sterilizers for mushroom growing. They’re simple, affordable, and ideal for new growers.

However, autoclaves are far more common among large and/or commercial mushroom cultivators.

Unlike pressure cookers, autoclaves don’t require supervision or management. They automatically adjust their temperature and pressure to follow a pre-programmed cycle.

In general, autoclaves are a much larger upfront expense. However, your money buys greater time-efficiency, consistency, and safety.

Visit our All American pressure cooker vs. autoclave article for a more detailed comparison of how these two popular devices stack up.

Looking for a quick recommendation? We believe our 60-liter and 150-liter models are the best-value small and medium autoclaves on the market.

Why buy mushroom cultivation equipment from SH Scientific?

It’s our mission to provide unrivaled value on high-quality lab equipment. 

With SH Scientific, you can equip your mushroom cultivation business for thousands less without sacrificing name-brand performance.

Our affordable yet world-class devices are trusted by US government labs, university research facilities, and commercial R&D teams alike.

To learn more about our autoclaves and laminar benches, or to discuss your needs in more detail, reach out today!