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Thread: Mycelium Based DIY CO2?

  1. #1

    Mycelium Based DIY CO2?

    So it's looking like a company, CO2 Boost , is selling spawn buckets as CO2 generators. They claim to last 60-90 days, and they charge around $100 each. I've seen these buckets before; they're maybe about 2 gallons, and the sort of thing you could keep out of sight. Perhaps it would be possible to simply buy some spores and start a culture of your own, rather than paying a ridiculous price. From there it would just be a matter of performing partial substrate changes. To prevent the mycelium from running out of O2, a trickle of air could be run in through a pump at the top, while the CO2 siphons through a hole towards the bottom.

    My hope would be that it could provide more stable CO2 than pure DIY, though perhaps not so much of it per cm3 of culture. The other part would be that rather than buying yeast and just throwing the culture away (unless you really like making bread) that the old mycelium changed out could be used for garden soil, or brought out of stasis to fruit.

    The whole thing is pretty rough in my mind, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to post the concept, and see what other people think.


  2. #2

    Tom Barr

  3. #3
    $100 at the hydroponics store, much like $20-$30 for some watery NPK from the LFS. The real cost on a bucket of home-grown spawn from spore or mycelium frag is just a little more than its weight in BS, quite literally.


  4. you lost me at Mycelium

    Google here I come!

  5. #5
    To save time: Mycelium - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A trip to a mature forest somewhere should enable one to pick up lots of this stuff. Now, what to do next might be the problem, as well as determining how much is needed to generate one bbs of CO2.

    I have a "square foot" garden on my deck, with the planter box filled with compost rich soil, having lots of woody debris in it. It grows small mushrooms every so often. So, I suspect a bag of that stuff would be well primed with mycelium as purchased. But, how to convert that to a CO2 generator sufficient to supply a given size tank is another question.
    Last edited by VaughnH; 05-07-2009 at 05:41 PM.

  6. #6
    Honestly, there's a few ways of getting the culture. Spores would probably be the easiest way. Bacterial contamination is the algae of mycology, and spores get around it better than taking mycelium directly. If you want mushrooms for your steak with that spawn bucket, plenty of people sell sterile culture syringes. I guess it's $20 or a little time outdoors? Any local mycological society would probably be happy to help as well. In terms of what kind, something that grows fast in relatively dry, acidic substrate might not hurt; maybe a wood-loving mushroom. Yours sound like they'd be a good start, Vaughn.

    I think I've got a unique side project worth playing with finally. Time to refresh my knowledge of mycology, and buy some ice cream (my favorite way of getting a 1 gal bucket). There's a farmers market that happens every weekend around here, and a couple that run their own mushroom farm and do some hunting are usually around. I'll see what their opinion is for fast-growing, hearty strains.

    Last edited by Philosophos; 05-07-2009 at 06:50 PM.

  7. #7
    The most useful way to do this, in my opinion, is to carefully "measure" what you set up, then measure the rate of CO2 production from that set-up. If you do that for two or more different setups you can predict what is needed to supply X bubbles per second of CO2. Of course, you would also want to see how the production varies with time, and how long it will last. That would be a good research project - actually a perfect one for a science fair project. If I weren't obsesses with LEDs right now I might try to work on this (I'm sure my entry in the local high school science fairs would be welcomed??)

  8. #8
    I've got a severe shortage of access to CO2 diffusers around here. The planted tank scene is very lacking; knowing the binomial of things gets a weird look from LFS owners around here (insert banjo music where aplicable). So anyhow, I thought I'd just use air stones, DI water, and blacked out containers with 1L marks on them. I've got a fairly good pH meter, accurate to .01, which should allow me to monitor CO2 indirectly. Space is tight, so everything is going to be miniature. I was thinking maybe a spawn bucket, along with a yeast-supplied setup on exactly the same hardware for comparison. From there, a control with the hardware and substrate without the mycellium perhaps, and one without any substrate. The controls are the ones I'm having trouble making up my mind on.

    Either way, I can't see it being possible to outperform the yeast for efficiency in space. I would be stunned if the mycelium isn't far more stable, and lower maintenance though. I've kept a couple yeast cultures for baking; home-spawned lactobacillus and commercial *where's that wikipedia article...* Saccharomyces cerevisiae are both very touchy. A sustainable culture took a 50% change of substrate every 24-48 hrs, with obviously peaked CO2 production around the 4-6 hour mark and a steep drop after.

    Last edited by Philosophos; 05-08-2009 at 06:16 AM.


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