After-effects of bleach?

Jessie Micales jmicales at
Thu Jul 20 05:50:22 EST 1995

>Greetings!  I have successfully prepared substrate for inoculation by
>different species of Pleurotus with a method of soaking the substrate
>(straws, woodchips, sawdust) in a bleach- water bath (.5 cup 
>household bleach <5% sodium hypochlorite> per 4 gallons of water) for 2 
>hours, then drain and immediately inoculate.  Growth and contamination 
>rates are easily better than when I use the typical heated-water 
>pasterization method.  However, I have been questioned by several 
>individuals about possible residual effects of using bleach (whether or not 
>any long-term toxics are left, to be absorbed by the fungi...and passed on 
>to the consumer).  Can you point me to anypapers dealing with this 
>question??  Any assistance will be appreciated!
>Best regards,     Ralph Arnold     rarnold at

Bleach breaks down very rapidly when in contact with organic material. For 
example, people use bleach to remove mildew from wood.  The bleach  
kills the organisms that are immediately present but doesn't confer any 
residual effect and the mildew rapidly returns.  I don't think residual 
effects would develop in your fruiting bodies.  Certainly you would get a 
much higher exposure from laundry detergent or by using Chlorox as a 
cleaning agent.

Jessie Micales
jmicales at
Forest Products Lab, Madison, WI

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