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Fermenting Hardwood Oak Wood Chips in Water as a Form of Sterilization?

 
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In a previous post I proposed a problem, https://permies.com/t/190502/wood-good
I have access to a lot of hardwood oak chunks for a very affordable price. Due to the wood sitting out for weeks it is not clean. When I inoculate it, it is not fruiting at all. Instead other mushrooms and molds are fruiting. In this post I propose a solution to my problem. I want to hear opinions and thoughts, but most importantly I would like to hear thoughts from someone who has had experience in this. I want to take these wood chunks and pass them through a woodchipper, after the wood chipper I want to fully submerge them in water for a few weeks causing them to ferment. Causing a fully anaerobic environment where only those bacteria will be able to survive. After exposing them to air, they will all die, making an environment that is without any bacteria or mycelium. After that I want to try inoculating them with hardwood types such as shiitake and lionsmane. I know that fermented straw and woodchips are often used with oyster, but I also know that shiitake and lionsmane have been fruited in bags of sawdust and woodchips. One of my biggest concerns however is that the competing fungus/spores with withstand the anaerobic environment and ruin the whole batch. Someone who has tried fermenting wood chips in water for a few weeks says
> Matt stated the importance of using fresh wood chips for this process, leaving your wood chips to sit will allow other mycelium and contaminants to take foot adding an unnecessary dimension of complexity to the process. That dust you can see in the picture contains billions of spores and the image below is a lump he pulled out of the wood chips that were delivered Use fresh chips!
https://archersmushrooms.co.uk/matt-smalls-blue-barrel-fermentation-tek/


Now before we go any further I want to show a picture of the wood I am getting, visibly it looks clean, there is no apparent mycelium and no smell. By all accounts it seems fresh. However it has been cut down several weeks or months ago and been hauled all over the place, until finally it was tossed out here.

I also considered just submerging whole logs, however I suspect that will not allow for full fermentation because the water will not be able to breach the interior depths of the wood, possibly allowing competitive mycelium to survive. If you think that its not a problem, perhaps I will try fermentation without chipping them!

Here are some videos on the topic.


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I've been interested in this method as well, Joshua, thank you for starting this thread.  I'm looking forward to following along.
 
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So I am not an expert in mushroom cultivation, but I have failed to grow them on several occasions. Based on my failures, I don’t think those chunks have enough bark on them to do well as logs. So you problem may have not been freshness, but too much exposed grain, giving other fungi a chance to colonize after inoculation.
What that suggests to me is that you might have good luck chipping, and inoculating with wine cap (king stropharia) mushrooms in an outdoor bed. Wine caps are vigorous enough to do just fine on unpasteurized wood chips.
For spores: Yes, they will survive anaerobic fermentation. But then, spores survive boiling as well: thats why water bath canned green beans are a no no. So surviving spores are probably not the issue. Likewise for anaerobic fungi, which are mostly found in the gut - maybe if those logs had been rolling around in cow dung you should worry…
The main question I have would be the changes made by the anaerobic fermentation. Without oxygen, the microbes will produce all kinds of fun alcohols and acids. Since you can’t  keep it sterile during inoculation, will these extra food sources encourage other microbes to settle down? Or discourage your preferred fungus? I could see this being a problem for lions mane, which is pickier, vs vigorous and versatile oysters. Or maybe that is backwards, and lions mane loves to eat anaerobic leftovers!
If you try it, please post the process and results- I am super curious!
 
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I didn't know fermentation was the desired effect. I thought the process was simply to soak the wood in water long enough to suffocate the aerobes (3 days or so), then pour it off and let the wood dry somewhat to kill the anaerobes, and then innoculate when everything has been slowed down, if not killed, so your desired culture gets a head start.
That's what I did before making a garden bed of stropharia rugoso-annulata. It was one of my very few mushroom successes. It bore for a couple of years, but didn't pick back up when I added more chips (fresh, not soaked).
In my increasingly arid climate there is certainly an advantage to having the chips pick up all the water they can hold, and maybe that's why it worked, but I think the alternating anaerobic and aerobic conditions helped also.
 
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Lina Joana wrote:So I am not an expert in mushroom cultivation, but I have failed to grow them on several occasions. Based on my failures, I don’t think those chunks have enough bark on them to do well as logs. So you problem may have not been freshness, but too much exposed grain, giving other fungi a chance to colonize after inoculation.
What that suggests to me is that you might have good luck chipping, and inoculating with wine cap (king stropharia) mushrooms in an outdoor bed. Wine caps are vigorous enough to do just fine on unpasteurized wood chips.
For spores: Yes, they will survive anaerobic fermentation. But then, spores survive boiling as well: thats why water bath canned green beans are a no no. So surviving spores are probably not the issue. Likewise for anaerobic fungi, which are mostly found in the gut - maybe if those logs had been rolling around in cow dung you should worry…
The main question I have would be the changes made by the anaerobic fermentation. Without oxygen, the microbes will produce all kinds of fun alcohols and acids. Since you can’t  keep it sterile during inoculation, will these extra food sources encourage other microbes to settle down? Or discourage your preferred fungus? I could see this being a problem for lions mane, which is pickier, vs vigorous and versatile oysters. Or maybe that is backwards, and lions mane loves to eat anaerobic leftovers!
If you try it, please post the process and results- I am super curious!



Thanks for the thoughts. Your comments on bark are true, many people claim the most important thing when growing shiitake logs is to seal it up with wax so that the bark keeps other fungus out. Though thats true, I knew I had seen people growing shiitakes in bags. Here is a very important video: https://youtu.be/KgLrk17KpBI
Growing a variety of mushrooms on hardwood unsterilized sawdust pellets... Upon thinking on this I wondered if they sterilized sawdust pellets before they shipped them out... According to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g37Wba2U49I they are actually using discarded lumber from mills, exactly what I am thinking of using... and they do not sterilize them, they just grind them up and apply high heat and pressure when forming them into pellets.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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