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University Scientific Corporation
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Frequently Asked Questions


Below you will find a list of the most commonly asked questions regarding the products and services offered by UniversityScientific.com. Clicking on each question will jump you to the answer. If your question is not answered in the below list, please contact us and we will do our best to answer your inquiry.


 Questions About Ordering & Company PoliciesJump To Section

 Culture and Spore Related QuestionsJump To Section

 Supplies & Accessories Related QuestionsJump To Section


 Questions About Ordering & Company Policies

How do I place an order through the mail?
Add the desired items to your shopping cart using the buttons provided on the item pages. When you are ready, click the "Checkout" button located in the top-right section of your screen. Begin by providing your shipping and billing address information, you will need to fill in both fields even though they will be the same for mail orders. Hit the "submit" button at the bottom of the screen. A new screen will appear allowing you to select your desired UPS shipping option. Select the box for Mail Order: Cash, Money Order, Cashiers Check payment at the bottom of the screen and press "Continue." Review your order details on the next screen and hit "Submit Order." A printable invoice will appear. Print this invoice and mail along with payment to the address listed at the top of the invoice. If you are unable to print your invoice, simply send your payment along with your ORDER ID number from the top of invoice. Make check and money orders payable to "R.S.E." Click Here for more information about ordering methods and ordering via regular mail.
The online shopping cart isn't working for me, do I have other options?
Our online shopping cart has been tested to be functional for primarily Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Also, check to ensure you have cookies enabled for browsing on our site as the cart will utilize cookies to keep your shopping cart information present during your shopping session. Also ensure you are browsing from a current loaded version of the site and not an earlier downloaded or cached version. We have alternative instructions posted for the processing of your order on the Ordering Information Page.
How soon are orders shipped and what are typical delivery times?
Orders are typically processed and shipped within 3-5 business days of payment receipt. Occasional product backorder may delay your order for a few extra days. We will do our best to inform you if your order is expected to be delayed longer than 5 days. Transit time depends on the delivery method chosen during checkout.
What sort of packaging do you use and how is it labeled?
Packaging will depend on the items ordered. Orders for spore prints are shipped in small 4 x 8 inch padded bubble mailers. Culture and spore syringes are mailed in small white cardboard boxes measuring 10 x 2 x 2 inches (larger for big orders). Supplies will be packaged in different sized boxes depending on the weight and bulk of the items ordered. Domestic packages will only contain the needed labels for shipping and will not display outside descriptions of the packaged contents. Since we do not ship outside of the USA, all of our orders are "domestic".
What delivery options do I have and will I receive multiple packages?
UniversityScientific.com currently offers two carrier option: UPS and USPS. Methods will vary depending on where you live in the USA. We offer all standard UPS shipping options. These methods are the most reliable and cost efficient available. Each will allow you to track your package to some degree (protecting them from loss in shipment). Our items are shipped from the same location, but you may receive multiple shipments if a single item is temporarily backlogged and delaying the rest of your order. All orders are shipped as requested during the checkout procedure (unless otherwise arrange prior to order placement by contacting us).
How do I know if my order has been shipped?
When placing your order be sure to include a valid email address we can use to contact you with tracking information, or in the case any problems arise in processing your order. As soon as your order is processed and shipped, a confirmation email will be sent to the provided email and will include your UPS tracking number or Priority Mail delivery confirmation number. UPS tracking numbers can be used to track the progress of your order. Delivery confirmation from the US mail will only tell if and when you have successfully received your package.
My tracking number says my order was delivered, but I never received it, now what?
Some shippers may leave your package at your door without requesting signature. If your UPS tracking number or US Priority Mail delivery confirmation number shows delivery but you do not have your package, there are several options. First, please check with other members of your household to ensure your package was not secured by someone else. If your order is still not accounted for, please contact us for additional instructions and to arrange for replacement order to be mailed. We may ask for you to file a lost package claim with the shipper so we can obtain some compensation for the package they lost or misplaced at delivery. After a claim is filed we will then promptly reship a replacement order free of charge to minimize any delay for you to receive your order.
I am under 18, can I still order from you?
UniversityScientific.com requires all customers to be over the age of 18 to purchase any material from our catalog and website. Proof of age may be required, or proof of adult permission obtained if we suspect an order is placed by a minor. We are very sorry if this causes any problems for those wishing to purchase our goods, but if you are under the age of 18 we ask you get your parents written consent to buy goods from our catalog.
Do you ship to countries outside the USA?
No, we do not ship to countries outside of the USA (North America Only). We currently have shipping centres in the USA and are working on expanding internationally.
My order appears to be damaged or broken after shipping, now what?
Sometimes packages will receive rough handling during shipping. If you find your order has been damaged or broken in transit, please contact us to make additional arrangements. We may ask you to file a damage claim with the shipper so that we can be reclaim some funds for the damage they caused. Proof of damage may be required such as shipping the dmaged goods back to us or photographic proof. We will then make arrangements for your package to be reshipped ASAP so as to minimize any delay for you in receiving good, clean, whole and undamaged merchandise.
What is your return and refund policy?
All sales are final on pre-sterilized items. We do offer a sterility guarantee on these items for 30 days after purchase. A 20% restocking fee will be charged on all returned items. Items must be in original unused condition. No returns without written authorization. No returns after 30 days. Shipping charges are non-refundable. Checks may take time to clear, for fastest service use credit card, cashiers check, or US Postal money order. If the shipper for any preventable reason returns orders to us, you may be billed for additional shipping charges. $20.00 service charge will be charged on all returned checks. Culture products are sold with cleanliness and viability guarantee, should you find your cultures to be unviable or contaminated please contact us and we will make arrangements for replacement.
Can I have my order shipped as a gift to someone else?
Yes, you may have your order shipped as a gift to someone else, but we will require additional steps to process the order. If you are sending your order to any address other than the billing address for the card, or sending it to any receiver name that is different than that of the cardholder we are required to obtain additional "proof of cardholder participation" to complete your order. You will be asked to provide a photo copy or scanned image of your card via email or fax with a signed note authorizing the shipment of your order to the alternative name/address. You will receive these additional instructions within 24-48 hours via email after placing your order. As a result, orders shipped to any name or address different than the cardholder name or billing address may experience a slightly longer processing and shipping. Mail order payments do not require these additional requirements and can be shipped to any address legally able to receive the material in the order.
Do you include an invoice with my order?
Yes, we will include an invoice with your order that includes a full summary of your order and order number(s) for your future reference.
How safe is my credit card information?
Your credit card information is safe with our 256-bit SSL certification protecting the checkout process and InternetSecure.com protecting the credit card processing and transmission. Our new system allows us to process your credit cards using our own InternetSecure.com merchant account via protected servers.
Do you sell, trade, or maintain any mailing lists?
UniversityScientific.com offers our customers the option of signing up for a product announcement and discount bonus mailing list. The sign up for this list is found in the right-hand column of our Online Store. NO information from subscribers of this list is sold to any other organization or traded to any other organization by UniversityScientific.com. This list is maintained and managed internally by UniversityScientific.com. Anyone wishing to remove their name from this list may contact us and request removal. Subscription to this list is recommended to receive e-mails containing novel lab techniques, tips, tricks, revised teks, and the latest findings in the exciting field of mycology. Also get discount codes and bonuses e-mailed right into your inbox!
Why is some of the information on your site the same as on some other sites?
Unfortunately many other mycology web sites have decided to borrow content from us. While we are disappointed in the vendors profiting from our content, we believe in sharing as much knowledge and information as possible with the mycology community. If you are a vendor or mycology-based web site, we ask you to please respect our copywritten content.
How long has UniversityScientific.com been in business?
UniversityScientific.com's founders have been in the mycology field since 1994. Although UniversityScientific.com is a relatively new online research supply store, we own and operate dozens of mycology outlets throughout Canada and the United States. You can trust that your order will be filled in a timely manner by professional mycologists with a long standing tradition and investment in quality products and service.

 Culture and Spore Related Questions

I want to purchase spores to grow illegal mushrooms, can you help me?
UniversityScientific.com offers Psilocybe and Panaeolus genera mushroom spores for microscopy purposes only. The cultivation of many of these species will result in mushrooms that posses the chemical Psilocybin. This chemical is currently regulated as a Schedule 1 narcotic in the US and many other countries. Production of these mushrooms is illegal in the US and many other countries. It is not the intention of UniversityScientific.com to encourage people to break the law or to promote the use of illicit drugs. We cannot offer any advice explicitly directed towards the cultivation of these mushrooms. We can, however, answer all your questions regarding microscopy and edible/medicinal mushroom cultivation and culturing.
Why are Psilocybe and Panaeolus spores sold for microscopy only?
Psilocybe and Panaeolus genera mushroom spores are sold for microscopy purposes only because many of these species will produce mushrooms containing the controlled substance Psilocybin. Psilocybe and Panaeolus spores are legal for sale because the actual spores contain no Psilocybin and therefore are not subject to regulation or control unless specified otherwise by state or local law. Psilocybe and Panaelous spores cannot be shipped to Georgia, California, or Idaho without proper permissions.
Do you sell Psilocybe or Panaeolus spores to residents of CA, ID, or GA?
UniversityScientific.com will not process any request to these three states for Psilocybe or Panaeolus mushroom spores. California, Idaho, and Georgia state law may restrict possession of these mushrooms spores without first receiving proper permissions from the applicable state agricultural or research advisory agency. We regret that any order placed requesting these items shipped to these states will be refused, voided, or refunded. Residents of CA, ID, and GA are not restricted from ordering any other items sold on our site.
What is the best way to view my spores under a microscope?
Spores are best viewed at 400x or higher magnification. Place a small amount of dried spores into a small amount of water and then place a small drop of the resulting solution on a glass slide and cover with a glass cover slip. Excess water can be absorbed with the corner of a paper towel to prevent the cover slip from floating and drifting. Pre-made spore solutions in hypodermic syringes can be conveniently dispensed directly onto the slide. Spores can be accurately measured with a stage micrometer (a glass slide with a tiny engraved ruler).
What is the difference between a spore print and a spore/culture syringe?
Spore prints are collections of spores taken on a sterile medium under sterile conditions. The spores are collected by placing a mature mushroom cap on the medium and allowing the cap to release spores. The spores then adhere to the surface of the medium after drying and form a "print." Prints are often used directly to observe spores under a microscope. Spore syringes are simply a mixture of clean spores in a sterile solution. This allows for direct microscopic examination of hydrated spores. Culture syringes of edible, medicinal, and novelty species are designed to allow the direct inoculation of mycelium into substrate material.
How should I store my cultures and spores and how long will they last?
Culture syringes should be stored in the clean ziplock baggie in which they were packaged and placed in your fridge until planned use. Spore prints should be stored in the clean ziplock baggie in which they are packaged. It is best to store this baggie in a cool, draft-free location with low humidity. Spore prints can remain clean for many years if cared for properly. Spore syringes should be stored in a clean ziplock baggie (like the one used in shipping) and placed in a refrigerator. Refrigerating the syringes increases the length of time the spores will remain clean and usable for microscopy (up to 4-5 months).
How can I start growing my edible and medicinal spores and cultures?
It depends on the species you are attempting to grow and the skill level of the cultivator. We have prepared several cultures in convenient syringes that can be injected into pre-sterilized substrates for practically foolproof cultivation. Each edible, medicinal, and novelty species has its own requirements and should be well researched before ordering. We offer easy to use fruiting and spawn starter kits for most of the edible and medicinal cultures in our catalogue. Please check our Partners & Resources page for more information and methods on cultivating our many edible, medicinal, and novelty species.
Where do you get your cultures and spores from?
Edible and medicinal cultures and spores are maintained by our skilled and qualified employees in our US labs. Psilocybe and Panaeolus genera spores are collected from wild specimens or provided via our research center at JXMI (Jamaican Xotic Mushrooms Inc.) in Westmoreland Jamaica or via our experienced and qualified research associates in Europe.
How are spores handled before I receive them?
Spore prints are taken under sterile conditions are packaged in sterile baggies. The spores are never removed from their bag following printing. Spore syringes are created from clean prints in our positive HEPA pressure cleanroom laboratory and are shipped with the needle sterile. Culture syringes are prepared from a nutrient broth solution and stored at refrigerated temperatures prior to shipping.
Are these spores dangerous?
None of the spores sold by our company are dangerous. Some, like many Psilocybes and Panaeolus, can produce mushrooms containing the controlled substance psilocybin. These mushrooms may produce hallucinogenic effects and it should be noted that production of psilocybin and psilocin is illegal within the US, Canada and many other countries. Spores from these species are offered for microscopy purposes only.
My cultures or spores appear to be contaminated, now what?
All spores/cultures and pre-sterilized items are supplied with a cleanliness guarantee. Should you find any of our spore or culture products be contaminated with mold or bacteria please contact us with your original purchase information and we will make arrangements to replace your spores/cultures as per our sterility guarantee. If you have ordered pre-sterilized supplies and found them to arrive contaminated with molds or bacteria please contact us and we will make arrangements for replacements to be sent.
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 Supplies & Accessories Related Questions

What is Agar?
Agar is the standard material used in microbiological and mycological culture work for gelatinizing nutrient broths. It is derived from certain seaweeds and cannot be directly digested by most organisms. It is material, with the addition of various nutrients, that is poured into petri dishes. It is used to germinate spores and isolate mycelium away from contaminates.
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Why are there so many Agar formulas and how do I choose the best?
Different species grow better on different agar formulas but the vast majority do well with malt extract agar (MEA) and potato dextrose agar (PDA). It is a good idea to alternate between two or more agar formulas to keep cultures vigorous. Growing a specimen continuously on one formula has been shown to cause a gradual decline in vitality. Some agar formulas contain antibiotics and/or antimold agents to inhibit competitor organisms. These are very useful for working with badly contaminated spore prints or cultures but should not be used for long-term culture maintenance.
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Why is media anti-biotic only for limited use?
Although for the short term an antibiotic may stimulate mycelial growth, extended use may cause genetic damage to the strain. It is also possible to create an antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria thus rendering your antibiotic useless for when it is truly needed.
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If an item does not have a listed quantity discount can I still save with a bulk order?
We have listed the most popular items available at bulk discount on our Online Store. You can take advantage of the bulk pricing by using the drop down menus or radio buttons for each item and selecting the desired quantity, corresponding bulk pricing will then be displayed automatically. We can offer many of our other products and spore items at bulk rates but circumstances may depend on available stock or shipping options. Please contact us if you are seeking bulk purchasing or wholesale purchasing information for any item not already listed with bulk rates and discounts.
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What is the shelf life of my Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Grow Kit Bag?
Our tests have proven the shelf life of Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Grow Kit Bags to be at least 4 months from the time of product arrival before possible expiration. If the bag is stored in a relatively stable environment with normal humidity (dry air could dry out the substrate mixture) then there is reason to believe the bag could store as long as 6 months. All bags shipped from our store are from recently sterilized batches, so you can be guaranteed to receive a fresh product with a full shelf life expectancy.
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What are the Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Kits made from?
The substrate included pre-mixed and sterilized inside the Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Grow Kits has been specially prepared for optimal growing of several types of mushrooms. Kits are listed with specific bag mixtures, for example the Oyster Mushroom Grow Kits include a substrate bag specifically designed for straw and grass loving mushrooms while the Spawn Starter Kits include sterilized rye berries, whole kernel corn, or a mixture of suitable grains and your choice of culture so that you can create spawn that can be moved to other primary substrate materials.
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I am a novice and don't have much equipment, will using the Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Kits require much time or effort?
The Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Kits are designed with the novice in mind. As such, all you need to successfully enjoy the experience of mushroom cultivation is a viable and healthy culture syringe (which is included in the kit) of the desired fungus. The bags come pre-mixed and sterilized and require no additional equipment for production of edible, medicinal, or novelty mushroom species. Some bags may perform and produce better with simple humidity chambers or other simple equipment that can usually be located around the home.
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What sort of mushrooms can I grow in my Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Kit?
The Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Grow Kits have been constructed with a substrate mixture specifically formulated for the production of different types of fungus. Most kits are listed with the applicable culture for the fungus most appropriate for the mixture contained in the Kit's Bag. For example, the straw and grass based bag used for the Oyster Mushroom Kit is best suited for the production of oyster mushrooms. Many species specific bag based grow kits will be introduced in the coming future, so stay tuned.
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I got my Grow Kit today, now what?
Once your Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Grow Kit arrives there are only a few steps before you can begin to enjoy the wonders of mycological study. Simply follow the directions outlined on the Kit's Page. Once your bags have been properly inoculated simply wait until they become fully colonized with mycelium before exposing them to indirect light on a daily basis. Once fully colonized, exposure to indirect light for 12 hours a day is best to initiate pinning.
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I do not see anything growing, is my Grow Kit defective?
The Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Grow Kits have been extensively tested and are prepared using very strict quality control guidelines. As such, we do not expect many of our customers to have problems with this product. If nothing appears to be growing in your bag (i.e. it looks just as it did the day it arrived, even after culture inoculation) then chances are the culture used to inoculate the bag may have become unviable. If your cultures have been purchased through our site we can offer to replace any defective or contaminated MycoBag. However, we cannot extend this guarantee to cultures purchased through other vendors and used in our bags. If you find your Grow Kit to be unproductive then please contact us to make arrangements to receive either replacement bags or replacement cultures. If no growth is apparent in the bag then chances are you just need a fresh culture syringe to start growth.
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Does my Grow Kit Bag need to be cased?
The Edible and Gourmet Mushroom Grow Kits are designed to work without any additional casing procedures or removal of the substrate from the bag. However, many customers have noted success in removing the colonized substrate from the bag, placing it in fruiting trays and applying traditional casing mixtures. Doing this will undoubtedly increase the productivity of the bag substrate and may allow you to successfully grow species unsuited for the traditional Myco Bag grow procedure.
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My Grow Kit Bag has finished fruiting, is there something else I can do?
Once the substrate contained in the Grow Kit Bag is exhausted and finished producing fruits there are several options you can explore. Many customers have noted success by injecting sterilized or distilled water into the substrate through the injection port. Recharging the bags in this manner may allow more flushes to develop. Other customers have noted further success by removing the spent substrate from the bag and placing in traditional fruiting chambers and supplying supplemental humidity and air exchange. The spent substrate may also be used to spawn bulk mediums given the myco bag substrate has been handled in fairly sterile surroundings when opened for harvest.
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What is the difference between pressure cookers and sterilizers?
Unlike pressure cookers, a sterilizer creates a seal inside the chamber as it cools preventing any unclean outside air from entering the chamber during cooling or while your material awaits use after cooking. Sterilizers offer a very affordable solution to high priced autoclaves for the home lab. For most uses a pressure cooker will provide all the sterilizing power you need for home mycological experimentation.
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