Q. Is Mold Common?
A. Mold is one of the most common problems people who build with bamboo face, but thankfully it is one that will not damage your bamboo to the point of disintegration, and it’s also a relatively cheap and easy fix. Mold is famously attracted to bamboo because of its very high starch content, perfect food for fungus in the hot and humid environments of the tropics, but it is much more prevalent when bamboo is treated improperly or not dried completely before treatment, or when transported long distances in varying climates.
Q. What causes Fungus to Grow on Bamboo?
- Carbohydrates: Fungus originate from very fine, air-borne spores present in fruit bodies and cause biological degradation of bamboo. They nourish from the starch and other carbohydrates (sugar) that are present in bamboo culms. At an advanced stage, their damage will show on the surface of the bamboo.
- Oxygen: Just as almost any other living thing on this planet, fungus needs to breath. Limiting that supply of oxygen will retard their growth. Some fungi though, can survive on very low levels of Oxygen as long as their is a high presence of moisture.
- Moisture content: Fungi love humid environments! Moisture levels of 40 to 80% are ideal for their rapid growth.
- Temperature: Fungus feel most comfortable at temperatures between 25°C to 35°C.
Q. What Types of Fungi Attack Bamboo?
- Surface Molds: These bamboo molds grow on the surface and at the cross-ends of bamboo culms. Although they look spectacular, they have no influence on the strength of the bamboo and can be wiped off easily.
- Stain Fungi: These bamboo fungi can penetrate round bamboos from cross cut ends as well as from cuts at the nodes after removal of the branches. Attack is indicated by shades of blue/grayish-black discoloration on the surface in the form of spots and streaks. It reduces the aesthetic appearance but does not affect the strength properties of bamboo (except in severe cases of attack).