The Slime Mould Collective

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Problems with raising Physarum Polycephalum from sclerotia

I'm writing this post, because I have a problem as mentioned in the title. Never before had I faced such difficulties and I'm doing things in the same way as earlier: I place a piece of kitchen towel in the petri dish, I put on it a little piece of sclerotium plus an oat flake and I wetten it with tap water. But the slimes don't come alive even in 2 days and they derive foul smell (I don't remember feeling it before and it's hard to describe - something like old water and decay). From about 10 trials I had only two which were "successful" - slimes developed but they aren't very vigorous. They don't move much, covering an oat flake takes them more then an hour (maybe a couple of hours). Do you know what may be the reason? Perhaps it might be temperature for it dropped below zero in the afternoon yesterday, but the one in my room cannot be very different. Please, tell me if you know what might have caused it.
Kind regards

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Just a guess, but could it be the humidity? Seems like temperature is accounted for, not sure if humidity is dropping too.

It's true that humidity drops when temperature falls down, but the slimes are keeped in the petri dishes so, I guess, it shouldn't affect them. Nevertheless, I'm grateful for your response.


What's the strain and how old are the sclerotia? If they're leaking a load of pigment soon after rehydrating, it's the sclerotia that's the problem - comes with an earthy smell. Cold down to 4c won't kill them - I store mine in the fridge occasionally. An hour to two ours is about right for a newly awoken slime to cover an oat flake though. Finely powdered oats can help revive a weak one. 

Thank you very much, your answer was the thing I hoped for for I know you're an expert according slime moulds (or molds, it confuses me which one is correct). The strains are both Daywalker and Mazie which I recieved from you in the summer. I also expected this answer because slimes from my sclerotia seemed all right. As you said, the pigment leaked after rehydrating. But I don't quite get what am I to do. Shall I sprinkle my not vigorous slimes with powdered oats? Am I to put freshly rehydrated sclerotia into a fridge? Can these sclerotia be mke useful again in any way?


Your best bet is go for broke - take the whole remaining piece, hydrate it and add some powdered oats straight on top - just a pinch. Keep them at 20c min, when you see growth, feed slowly.

It's possible you just got a bad batch of sclerotia, but since both strains are bad, I wonder if they got overheated or something in the post.

I'll post you more on Saturday - they do come with a guarantee! 

One Daywalker managed to develop and it seems pretty normal, the second I sprinkled with crushed oats and I think it helped. I'm going to observe them. My other trials proved unsuccessful. I'm going to have a try of this last-chance method today.

Thank you very much for your help both substantive and material.

FYI I'm having a similar problem as well, for the past month or so, with Mazie + Daywalker.

Age: not an issue, I received these from Ian in August! worked fine then~
Temp: year-round temps here are 25-30'C.
Humidity: it's more humid now, actually

I'll try the "go for broke" method now.


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