TwentyTwo source the mushroom spores to begin the growing process.
Spores are tiny, reproductive cells that allow mushrooms to replicate and grow.
These spores then go into a mixture of agar-agar and water that are combined inside a kilner jar in a liquid culture - 5% agar-agar 95% water. The agar-agar and water is sterilised to remove any microbes that might compete with the growing process (mould, bacteria, etc). The spores takes the nutrients from the honey to grow and this is the beginning of the growing process - it is known as expanding a liquid culture.
Spores (like the seed) grow into mycelium in the liquid culture in the kilner jar over the course of a couple of weeks. To do this most effectively and to grow properly the kilner jar needs to be left in a warm, dark environment (similar to the mycelium being underground in the summer months). This is similar to a process of incubation.
After a couple of weeks, the mycelium will have grown, at which point Twenty Two use a magnetic stirrer to rip the mycelium into many tiny pieces which is then sucked up with a syringe. This is then injected into a bag full of sterilized grain, again removing bacteria, mould etc from the growing process and ensuring a good grow.
At this point, the culture is grown inside the grain. The grain is used the next source of nutrients (after the agar agar in the kilner jar). The culture takes over the grain / engulfs it (basically eats it to grow) and turns into a large mycelia mass. This is done for another couple of weeks at which point the mycelium is then further grown out on top of a sterilized oak substrate. The oak substrate is inoculated with the grain (grain goes onto the oak substrate) which puts the mycelium onto the wood.
Incubated again for a couple of weeks and the process starts to move towards the mycelium being ready to fruit.
At this point (currently having been incubated and grown in the warm and dark environment similar to summer), we then introduce autumn like conditions to the growing process so that the mycelium is made to think that it is time to fruit (because in the real world, mycelium grows underground in summer and reproduces above the ground in autumn when the seasons start to change). To do this, we increase fresh air into the growing process and start to incorporate more natural light. At the same time, you must decrease the temperature so it reflects the season shift. At this point, the mycelium starts to think that it is time to break through and grow the lions mane mushroom itself. It forms primordia which are similar to small / tiny mushrooms. Which then increase in size towards maturity. Allow it to continue to grow for another couple of weeks .
By this point, approx 2 - 3 months into the process, the Lion’s Mane mushroom is ready to harvest. It will then be dehydrated and blended up to make it easier to store. It will be put through a hot water extraction process to break down the cell walls of the mushroom and make it more bioavailable. This involves adding hot water and holding the same temperature for a couple of hours.
At this point, it is dehydrated again - to a dry powder like form - where it is then blended and encapsulated into vegan capsules [these are hypromellose capsules].
And Twenty Two Lion’s Mane supplements are born!
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