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Filter patch or no! Mycobags contaminating!

bacteria contaminating filter mycobags patch

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#1 billj324

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 01:19 AM

**** WARNING - LONG POST****
I would prefer experts only, who have had experience with bulk - in large quantity.

Hello everyone!
I'm a LONG TIME reader 5+ years... and first time poster.

I am having a major issue - bacteria!
Setup:
production is large scale.
Using large, pre-seal able bags w/o injection ports.
I produce 50-150/month.

Problem:
10-20% lost due to bacteria (and some to trich or other nasties)
this amounts to a lot of lost work.

Over the last year or so, I have seen contams come and go. I observed (through record-keeping) that as long as I don't mess with the bags at all, either nothing happens, or it takes 4-10 weeks for any bag to fail.
However, when mixed, all hell breaks loose.
Bacteria consumes a good portion of my work.

At one point, I discovered that my bags would fail simply by causing them to breath. This means anywhere from opening the PC to fill them with air right after sterilization, to giving them their first mixing, some would inevitably succumb to either some form of mold or bacteria. Lately, I found that improved handling dramatically reduces molds... but still, not bacteria. Bacteria is my worst enemy. I have PCed (and tracked) bags - even created CONTROL GROUPS! They stay VERY happy (for several weeks) as long as I don't mix them. I have mixed them with and without inoculating. Same results - bacteria - I have tested specific syringes, found that it is not the syringes.

Possible roads to infection, and their tests to locate them:
Lets start with soaking (12 hr presoak)- found this to be unnecessary for eliminating bacteria:

I took a soaked batch, and nonsoaked batch. Both; preheated for water absorption, drained, mixed with verm, then bagged, sealed (double seal with impulse sealer), and PCed for 2 full hours. Each were given until next morning to be opened - sufficient time to cool to near-room-temp.

The PCs are brought to temp using strong burners - they can reach temp by 15 mins! however, we ensure they do not heat this quickly and allow 30 mins to reach full temp for uniform distribution of heat. The clock starts after they have been adjusted to produce a rolling hiss.

Removal:
area is in still-air condition - Lysol is sprayed heavily on PC and around area. Bags are inflated BEFORE leaving the PC ( I found doing this while the PCs are producing steam provides a convection from steam expansion - keeping the immediate area free of molds and whatnot.) Inflating them afterwords usually yielded me greater number of MOLD contams.

After they (both test groups) were inflated, they are placed inside a room with nearly-constant temp of 80 F.
For three weeks, both sets sat with no contact. One gave in to mold (probably through filter patch, as PCing would effectively eliminate ALL living or dormant organisms).
Others were fine. Not a single loss.
Each test group has 10 bags filled to approximately 1.25 gallons of mixed material.

Keep in mind that so far, no contamination other than the only lost.
taking 10 bags, setting them aside, I took 5 of these and inoculated with one single LC syringe. Giving each approx 5-6cc.

It let these 5 sit for one week - no contams, just good growth.
meanwhile, nothing bad from the other 14 bags.
I take the five inoculated and mix them - careful to avoid the filter patch and to avoid CAUSING RESPIRATION THROUGH THE PATCH.
At the same time, I gently shook and kneaded the other 5 from this test group(the not-inoculated group), handled in the same way.
Within 1 week from both sets, 2 from the control group that were shaken were taken by bacteria. Only one of the bags from the inoculated group were taken by bacteria. Now, this brings me to 30% failure. I have seen this happen at different rates, no pattern! In the meantime, only one of the 10 that were not shaken was taken by bacteria.
Its not until it is handled and mixed does this happen.

What is now clear is that the filter patch is now become the primary mode of contamination.
Respirating the bags easily introduce mold and other nasties.
Handling the bags introduces bacteria.
We have used our hands, latex gloves, latex glove covered in hand sanitizer, without change in this behavior!

It appears the bacteria is entering the bag but doesn't get sufficiently spread until it is mixed.
The random nature tells me either all bacteria wasn't killed (unlikely due to the control group that WAS soaked to hatch the endospores - becoming contammed as well)


I want to eliminate the use of the filter patch. Assuming the risks associated with sealing post-PC, how well will the standard bags work?
Is the gaseous exchange through the filter patch really necessary?
I ask this of anyone with experience with using non-patch bags.

PM me if you would like rather than open post. I am VERY glad to return your questions with my knowledge and experience.




On another note, for those who want to still (if ur not already sleeping) want to read on:

Bacteria is airborne and surfaceborne - to eliminate it would require extraordinary precautions to keep it off of anything.
Furthermore, despite how clean my PC (and bagging process), after handling the bag, my hands (or gloves) smell like rye matter!
This suggests that cleanliness is a concern - but keeping something of this magnitude clean is virtually impossible, and simply unrealistic given time restraints and shear volume of production.

The filter patch is weak, and I am unable to get anyone from the manufacturer or supplier (sporeworks) to tell me what material it is (the patch, not the bag) The bags are definitely PP (Polypropylene) - again, kiln tested for its melting point.
If the filter patch is made of Tyvek (spun-fiber Polyethylene), this is terrible and would explain the mold getting in: Polyethylene becomes soft at approximately 230-255 F (depending on its polymer density) (tested using kiln w/ PID controlled thermostat on thermocouple sensor) - I have yet - sad to admit - to test a sample of the filter patch in the kiln - which would answer my question instead of waiting for the manufacturer. I will do this tomorrow first thing.
If this is the case, PCing for any length of time changes the pore size of the filter patch and effectively REDUCES ITS ABILITY TO FILTER PROPERLY THEORETICALLY TO 0%!

So, the filter patch alone introduces bacteria, and mold - both very easily.
despitemy best efforts, I cannot reduce my failure to <10%.

So, this leads me to the BIG QUESTION:
Can I seal the freshly PCed bags air-tight after PCing them and still have my cakes colonize w/o issue?

I remember back in the day when I PCed jars - I never let the darn things breath and yet they produced - using the standard PF tek.

so before I spend the time making filterless bags, I need to know:
Has anyone done this with good success (again, I know the risks of post-PC sealing)?

I understand that you have to seal them after PCing, which is not a problem:
I have designed and am in the process of building a simple room equipped with Ionizer and HEPA filters to produce constant positive airflow out of the room to continuously feed clean air (organism and mold free) in and molds out. I have even designed it to mate with the PCs so as to provide a virtually pure flow of air out along the PCs - for inflation of the bags and whatnot.

#2 chlorello

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 07:06 AM

I don't have bulk mushroom production experience, but I have worked in and around facilities producing aquatic organisms, and recall some cased of persistent bacterial/viral contaminations that shut down production and stymied teams of scientists for many months. It seems like if you grow a single crop for a period of time using consistent techniques and media, sometimes a population of the baddies becomes established, and it's really hard to fight them. In the worst case I know of, after more than a year of failure, the lab crew simply bathed the whole facility in a strong base solution for about a week, which worked. I wish I could be of more help.

#3 sandman

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 07:47 AM

The PCs are brought to temp using strong burners - they can reach temp by 15 mins! however, we ensure they do not heat this quickly and allow 30 mins to reach full temp for uniform distribution of heat. The clock starts after they have been adjusted to produce a rolling hiss.

Gas or Electric? BTUs?


Inflating them afterwords usually yielded me greater number of MOLD contams.


I want you to do a test for me. Your next bag that fails, empty it completely after slicing the very top. Now fill it with water all the way to the bottom of the patch. Observe the bag for any water leaks.

I want to eliminate the use of the filter patch. Assuming the risks associated with sealing post-PC , how well will the standard bags work? Is the gaseous exchange through the filter patch really necessary?


No you dont...Your problem PROBABLY has nothing to do with the filter patch. No commercial producers are running spawn in air tight bags.


Can I seal the freshly PCed bags air-tight after PCing them and still have my cakes colonize w/o issue?


no.


There are a few possible reasons that I can think of for your problems. The most likely reason for this is simple pinholes in your bags. This is caused when the top of the bag is rolled up so steam can not escape the patch when the bag is being cooked. Or when too much heat is applied to the PC, usually from a gas burner.


The other cause could be your cooling down process and removing the bags and sealing...You say still air room but what is the filtration like? If it is not class 100 clean room then forget about it. You need a large flowhood to cool the pc down in front of. Or just seal the bags before cooking, or even better both.


I have other ideas too but these are the most likely.

#4 billj324

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 08:58 AM

It seems like if you grow a single crop for a period of time using consistent techniques and media, sometimes a population of the baddies becomes established, and it's really hard to fight them. In the worst case I know of, after more than a year of failure, the lab crew simply bathed the whole facility in a strong base solution for about a week, which worked. I wish I could be of more help.


Thanks for your reply - that is definitely something to consider!

#5 billj324

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 09:53 AM

Gas or Electric? BTUs?

Gas - 50K each burner - however, only during testing did we find out what they were capable of - We turn it WAY down lol. I don't let it take any less than 30 mins to reach temp.


I want you to do a test for me. Your next bag that fails, empty it completely after slicing the very top. Now fill it with water all the way to the bottom of the patch. Observe the bag for any water leaks.


I will do this. I should have it done over the weekend. Including the test for the filter patch break-down temp. If the patch is polyethylene, these should not be used anymore, and another material should be considered.

No you dont...Your problem PROBABLY has nothing to do with the filter patch. No commercial producers are running spawn in air tight bags.


What do they use? Where can I find these resources? I ask because there is a lot of info out there, and I have little time to read it. If you (or anyone) knows of a good resource, please... let me know! I can customize my process to suit the needs of almost any new setup.



There are a few possible reasons that I can think of for your problems. The most likely reason for this is simple pinholes in your bags. This is caused when the top of the bag is rolled up so steam can not escape the patch when the bag is being cooked. Or when too much heat is applied to the PC, usually from a gas burner.


True, however, any holes that appear in the bag would likely become infected with mold and/or bacteria. In addition, only location for the mold infection occurs at surface. I have observed (several, but not many) that if there were a hole in any other part of the bag, the contams usually make that clear. I still firmly believe that the filter patch, although not the cause, is the culprit.


The other cause could be your cooling down process and removing the bags and sealing...


The bag are allowed to cool to nearly room temp. They are not tampered with during this process - nothing is touched after the burners are shut down. Sealing is done prior to PCing.

You say still air room but what is the filtration like? If it is not class 100 clean room then forget about it. You need a large flowhood to cool the pc down in front of. Or just seal the bags before cooking, or even better both.


Have flowhood for PCs - have to remove CO and keep shop cool.



I have other ideas too but these are the most likely.


Keep them coming!!!!

The clean room is essential at this point. It may be a few weeks, but I will post updates. We believe that infection is being caused by handling. It is rare that an untouched bag become contaminated. The room all this is done in is not very clean - just because of space and time limitations.

We are dedicating a section of the room to this custom clean room - it should have a 200-bag+ capacity, a walk-in chamber to prepare for suiting up, plus room for a "goose-neck" where the PCs will mate to form a bypass (perfect seal will not be made so as to continuously flow purified air around them) while procedure is taking place.

I am very certain bacteria is making it through the patch - which honestly, offers no barrier at all. If I cannot eliminate the patch, then I have to find a way to keep it clean. If the patch is necessary, then why are bags still sold w/o the patch? Do people still use them? For what? -B

#6 sandman

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 10:07 AM

There is but one common manufacturer for spawn bags in the whole world, and I have had many conversations with the owner after having the same problems as you in the past. His products are used all over the world by many HUGE commercial farms. The patches are not a problem trust me.

#7 Hippie3

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 10:15 AM

you say you seal before pc'ing ?
that might be a problem if the pressure climbs faster than it can vent-
might do better
rolling bags up, rubberband tight, then pc then seal [triple] while still warm.
that gives me a pretty high rate of success over many hundreds of bags.
you might also use smaller bags if those are 1+ gallon each,
more material is harder to fully sterilize.

#8 ruderalis

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 10:59 AM

How long are you PC'ing? I usually use 4 to 5 quarts in bags and PC for at least 3 hours. The pre-sealable bags allow much easier flow of air through the filter for venting. This can be a problem sometimes. I've actually found a bag or two in past orders which had a very small (think pin prick) hole in the filter. I still prefer the presealable bags over the non though. I hate pulling freshly cooked, unsealed bags out of the pc without a flowhood. Some people are good at it...not me. My school allows me to use the lab flowhood for pretty much whatever I want, mostly pleurotus of course :rasta: but I don't like the idea of toting a couple of pressure cookers around the school.

If your mainly experiencing bacterial contams, try lowering the h2o content of your substrate a little. That and make sure you cook em long enough. My best guess

#9 datsun

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 10:40 PM

First off, I am sorry I dont have bulk grow experience so this may not be as educated an opinion as some but I did do a bit of research.

you mentioned this:

"Each test group has 10 bags filled to approximately 1.25 gallons of mixed material.

Keep in mind that so far, no contamination other than the only lost.
taking 10 bags, setting them aside, I took 5 of these and inoculated with one single LC syringe. Giving each approx 5-6cc.

It let these 5 sit for one week - no contams, just good growth.
meanwhile, nothing bad from the other 14 bags.
I take the five inoculated and mix them - careful to avoid the filter patch and to avoid CAUSING RESPIRATION THROUGH THE PATCH.
At the same time, I gently shook and kneaded the other 5 from this test group(the not-inoculated group), handled in the same way.
Within 1 week from both sets, 2 from the control group that were shaken were taken by bacteria. Only one of the bags from the inoculated group were taken by bacteria. Now, this brings me to 30% failure. I have seen this happen at different rates, no pattern! In the meantime, only one of the 10 that were not shaken was taken by bacteria.
Its not until it is handled and mixed does this happen."
-------------
I see a pattern, 10-20 or 30% of your bags appear to fail from what you said no matter what you do. Maybe the ones inoculated have a better chance to fight off the bacteria than the others but what I see is that no matter what you have done you still get bacteria growth.


What autoclave/pressure cooker are you using?

http://en.wikipedia....ressure_cooking

Mentions High altitude cooking with pressure cookers left food not cooked, makes me wonder if you live in a high altitude and need to compensate.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autoclave

Mentions:
Air Removal.
When the goal of autoclaving is to achieve sterility, it is very important to ensure that all of the trapped air is removed. The reason for this is that hot air is very poor at achieving sterility. Steam at 134 °C can achieve in 3 minutes the same sterility that hot air at 160 °C takes two hours to achieve.[citation needed] Autoclaves may achieve air removal by various means including:<snip>




Pressure cooker:
Most pressure cookers have a working pressure setting of 15 psi (100 kPa) over the existing atmospheric pressure, the standard determined by the United States Department of Agriculture in 1917.[2] At this pressure boost relative to sea-level atmospheric pressure, water boils at 125 °C (257 °F).

So it appears that the working temperature/pressure makes a HUGE difference in possible sterility? You mention your using 1+ gallon bags yes? are they possibly overcrowded in your pc/autoclave?

Hippie Mentioned that bigger bags are harder to sterilize. I would be interested to find out if your losses could be mitigated by using smaller bags. I know that ups the hassle factor but you sound like you REALLY want to fix this problem. So it might be an option.

Random thoughts:
I working in technology and one of the first questions I ask is:

Did this ever work? If so whats changed?

Even in hospitals where they try to be super sterile they end up with resistant strains of bad mojo. Its like when we isolate a strain huh?

#10 datsun

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 10:45 PM

There is but one common manufacturer for spawn bags in the whole world, and I have had many conversations with the owner after having the same problems as you in the past. His products are used all over the world by many HUGE commercial farms. The patches are not a problem trust me.


You mention you had similar issues, what did you do to resolve them sandman?

#11 sandman

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 12:35 AM

I cool pc down in a flowhood and cook unsealed. All work is done in a flowhood. I also switched to a custom "BRF/PF mix" for spawn bags and carefully controll the moisture of the substrate. This is the big thing for bacteria particularly.

#12 billj324

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 08:07 PM

I want to thank everyone for your interest in my problems :amazed:!

To Answer your questions:
Hippie:
"you say you seal before pc'ing ?"
Yes, I double seal them - I have built a hopper to fill the bags, so the top of the bag ALWAYS remains clean and free of obstruction; this is why I only seal twice - I found twice is still too much - if one handles the bags by the corners, risk in splitting the bag open by the seam still renders the first seal useless - lol. I still seal twice out of some strange paranoia.

We have thought of sealing after PCing - but this again requires flow hood.

I have questions now:
What good is a flow hood if it is dragging outside air in? especially if the air is dirty?
We are building a clean room now - I special ordered a HEPA/ULPA filter guaranteed to last me almost two years with high efficiency, 99.99% (yes, 99.99%) for particles .1 micron or larger. I am surprised the filter was as inexpensive as it was.
This clean room will be designed to provide positive flow at all times.

Hippie, over the last week, we have begun to understand the potential of this clean room. The idea is based on a tek I read over 5-6 years ago for a glovebox incorporating a micro-filterpatch and computer fan. The idea was to continuously pump fresh, particle-free air into the box, so when the door is opened, outpouring fresh air would keep floating debris out.
I have scaled up the size of filter and fan to accomodate 1000 cu ft.
this room will be sprayed down w/bleach and disinfectant moments before the filter is opend and exposed - then shelving will be added - same will be done for them and any other items entering the room. There will be a pre-room for suiting up in tyvek suits and gloves for handling. This room will be clean!

My questions to you are:
Is this room ideal?
Is this more affective than a flow hood?
What conditions have you provided for yourself?
At which scale do you operate (don't have to answer this - might be too private)
And at this scale, what is your loss to contamination?
What do you currently use for your process (you mentioned you seal after, so what do you use for your clean environment?)
We have considered reducing the volume of spawn to 1 gal- and are already doing this - enables easier handling and reduced risk of contacting the filter patch wihle mixing.

We plan on leaving the bags unsealed and performing G2G transfer - this would excellerate (need support for this - looking for anyone w/exp to testify here!) the colonization.

Also, I have made a batch with a tbsp of soap containing triclosan. I was able to find only small amounts of info online in regards to how this might work out. Any info I found was either incomplete or not backed. Has anyone tried this?
Does anyone KNOW of or CURRENTLY add something to their batch to fend off bacteria?

To Sandman:
Thank you for your input - I agree, the filter patches are not the problem - it is our handling that is the problem. However, they are still the primary vehicle to all of my contamination problems.

Here is another observation I've made;
After shaking several bags, I get the smell of "cheese" on my hands. I clean the water in the PCs after every wash (what a pain), but this still suggests that there is not only matter on the bags, but the bacteria is eating it and producing this odor.
How is this getting on my bags?
Is it safe to add a little bit of soap into the PCs w/out it causing a problem?
Is there another additive (or a way to get triclosin in its pure form w/out the soap)?

Oh right, another thing - I have PCed my bags by gently tieing them up and neetly bundling them in the PC - of this batch, almost all bac'ed up after shaking - however, out of these 30-40 that failed, I kept about 5 of them wrapped up - these are now over 2 months old - no bacteria. I will garantee, the moment I shake them up, they will go bad.
this is another direct indication that shaking does something bad.

These two reasons dominate my list - I need input here:
1. The bacteria is still dormant within the core of the cake - where sterilization temps were possibly not met. If this is true, then several conditions would activate the endospore:
moisture, air (O2), and proper temp - moisture and temp are already constants here, with air being the variable. This would also suggest and anerobic situation that would inhibit myco-growth - but doesn't, again pointing out that the bacteria penetrated the filter.

2. contact with the bag will introduce bacteria that will crawl into the bag (through the filter)
This reason is pretty straight-forward.

I'm not raggin on the filter patch. I have my obvious doubts about its reletive performance - and - at this point, from what I can tell, everyone here is very supportive of the patch. If there is no way around this problem - I.E. cant seal the bag w/o one - I have to learn to accomodate its vulnerabilities (cough: clean room)

There is but one common manufacturer for spawn bags in the whole world, and I have had many conversations with the owner after having the same problems as you in the past. His products are used all over the world by many HUGE commercial farms. The patches are not a problem trust me.


If you have had this problem - what did you do to erradicate it? Clean room? anti-bac soap? better bag handing? I am sure the clean (incubation) room would be an obvious boon to my work - but is this necessary at my scale?

If your mainly experiencing bacterial contams, try lowering the h2o content of your substrate a little. That and make sure you cook em long enough. My best guess


Thanks for your input ruderalis - Used to be a big Tool addict - is that where your name is inspired?
Its nice to have a lab at your disposal isn't it lol.
To answer this, I have greatly reduced my h2o content - the grains are much less plump, maybe too dry in some batches - however, I have documented that this has only reduced the bacteria problem - by so little that I still believe the infection is comming from the outside.
I will increase PC time to 3 hours. Lets see how this helps!

What autoclave/pressure cooker are you using?
Mentions High altitude cooking with pressure cookers left food not cooked, makes me wonder if you live in a high altitude and need to compensate.
Air Removal.
Steam at 134 °C can achieve in 3 minutes the same sterility that hot air at 160 °C takes two hours to achieve.[citation needed] Autoclaves may achieve air removal by various means including:<snip>


I live at an altitude of about 2000-2500 ft above sea level.
The PCs are heated w/o the bobbers on until condensation collects on the orface - per instruction manual -
This is a thermodynamics principal - The removal of the air inside the PC provides a SATURATED stream environment - the mixture of gasses inside a PC can cause deviating behavior - such as lower tempurature at 15 PSI - however, intuition tells me this behavior is not significant enough to cause long term (30mins+) problems.

We actually just started to PC them the correct way. I can't tell you the results just yet, but will keep you all posted.

Edited by Myc, 05 April 2009 - 11:25 PM.
fixed code


#13 billj324

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 08:15 PM

Forgot to add:
I am using two (2) 42qt american standard PCs. These are work-horses, and am due to be replaced by my own custom PCs within 6 months.

Hmm.. still looks like I'm using the quote feature incorrectly - sorry guys.

#14 Myc

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 11:32 PM

I've had the exact same problem you are describing.
Reduce the size of your spawn batches.
I seem to be able to get away with 3 full quarts of grain in one large spawnbag.
Any more and they seemed to contaminate.
Buy commercial spawnbags from a wholesale supplier.

#15 ruderalis

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 05:31 PM

"Thanks for your input ruderalis - Used to be a big Tool addict - is that where your name is inspired?"

I enjoy Tool as well, but the name didnt come from them. I just really like my grass and felt that it's ancestral genetics had a cool sounding name :rasta:

#16 pvacant

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 06:26 PM

I too had these problems, trust me sandman knows.......
after discussing it with him i took his word, and all, i mean ALL bags made it! contam free. this is the thread
http://mycotopia.net...spawn-bags.html

this may or may not help you, but has definitely got me over the hump.
good luck.

#17 billj324

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 04:02 PM

Ok, just an update to everyone, all steps we have taken to fight contams are ultimately designed to prevent producing waste and ultimately save time. Any step skipped to save time has simply added additional variables for investigation and vectors for contamination. Due to the financial/labor invested in WASTE, we found taking extra time to keep things clean and done right has proven to SAVE TIME:
1: soaking is mandatory - minimum of 12 hours, no more than 15.
a. we found that soaking is PRIMARILY used for awakening endospores.
b. in previous experiments we find this to ALSO hydrate the berries more evenly and completely - but could care less either way.
2: PC time has been extended to 3hr
a. PC water is extranged after EVERY CYCLE - residue from the process builds up
starting with the first batch, this will remain on the exterior of the spawn bags
promoting bacterial growth.
b. used 2 plastic (PP) graitings cut from shopping carts to line bottom of the PC,
elevating the bags at least two inches from the bottom of the PC.
c. PC is heated comfortably - no faster than 30 minutes to reach operating
pressure.
d. Bobber is not placed atop the nozzle until "sweating" occurs on the bobber's
nozzle - this ensures saturated steam environment (thermodynamics concept -
mixed gasses are not considered "ideal gasses" resulting in differing behaviour
than what the pressure gauge is assumed to provide.
e. Enough heating is provided for a steady "hiss" from the bobber - encourages
active convection within the PC.
f. cooling is done slowly - flow hood was made for PCs, is completely enclosed, ventillation is shut down durring the cooling phase - this increases the time it takes for PC pressure to reduce. The purpose of this is to avoid steam forcing itself through the filter patches and manipulating the poor size of the filter material - in very near future, this will not be necessary as bags will be sealed POST PC.

3. Clean environment
a. Clean ROOM has been set up. It is large enough for a 200 bag capacity, with
built-in flow-hood for G2G right out of PC.
b. ULPA filter established at 600CFM output. No air enters this room except through
this filter.
c. Room is not entered unless proper clothing is worn - face is always covered, and
hands always wear gloves - use of hand sanitizer is now excessive :)

Ladies and gentlemen, clean room started out as a "still air, incubation room" until the UPLA filter was designed and set up. Due to this alone, coupled with the better practices with handling spawn bags, we have had no mold or bacteria contams. Four bags have bit the dust due to blatant human error - but nothing has gotten through.

I've gone overboard with clenliness people. This is KEY to establishing a successful spawn culture. If you want to avoid flat-out wasting your time, clean everything after use, and dont cut corners to "save time". Due to the ease of spreading contams, never let your bare or untreated hands touch these bags, never breath on them, or look at them in any such way that would transmit nasties (positive energy here people! lol). As a test, we shook some 30 bags without a mask: 15 bags were tossed out 4 days later - bacteria. Or as Obitz commercials ask..."Dirty mouth?"

Remember; the filter patch on the bags are designed to provide diffusive exchange of gasses, at any point you cause the patch to breath, you dramatically increase the chance of particles entering the bag. If not airborn, they may be sitting on the filter just WAITING to be pulled inside.

The filters are designed to catch debris though several types of collisions while passing through/by the compressed fibers - unfortunately, the efficientcy of this material is reduced with every manipulation as does any material. With this in mind, I have to express that the current bad design is reletively POOR at defending itself from "normal" conditions, but better than nothing. In conclusion, the bag's environment is key to reducing (as illimination is theoretically impossible) vectors for contamination.

In layman's terms - keep ur shit clean and you wont have no mo problems. Dont be lazy, like I was, or you will pay for your sins.

It took me $50 in plastic, $250 for a bombass filter,$150 for a fan designed to push air at static pressure, $30 in lumber/polyeurothane, $50 for other misc supplies and several hours of labor to provide a ROOM with built-in flowhood to ensure complete and continued success.

If you're doing something small, say <30 bags a month, you don't need to get this excessive - but I still recommend a "still" environment for the bags, and covering up your mouth and skin. These two precausions WILL save you pain.

I also reduced the quantity of spawn in each bag to allow adiquate room to mix the spawn.

I wanna thank everyone for their help! This was a painful lesson in diligence.

#18 eatyualive

eatyualive

    ExoCannibalist

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Posted 03 October 2009 - 04:18 AM

ah doing bags. ive always done this. i have always pressure cooked my bags without sealing them first. i use wooden clothes pins. pc the bag. i generally only pc a gallon size bag of substrate. then remove from pc. i seal after i spawn. take the clips off, spawn, then seal the bag.

generally i will let the bags cool in the pc till morning. then spawn when cool.

average pc times when i used to do bags was 1.5 hours at most. using dung/straw 50/50 in 1 gallon spawn bags. i might pc 3 to 4 of these at a time. they are folded over with clothes pins then once spawned, the bag is sealed.

likewise, i might have 1 batch of 10 quart jars contam out of every 20 batches i pressure cook. now that doesn't count when the 2 year trich outbreak comes in. it might be 5 contam sessions in a row. it does hit every few years and it hits hard. i had a bad few months this year from trich in grain jars. i had to completely switch the grain i was using. that was the issue. the wbs. now using popcorn. i have not had 1 contam in jars since this issue.


bill, i was bumping this thread just to see if these issues are still continuing? sounds like your investing quite a bit in clean area. is it working?


i do however want to add. i have about the same contam ratio with bags or without bags. its comparable to grain jars contam ratio. it might be 1 in 20 bags contam. to my 1 in 20 fruiting tubs that contam. very minimal. if you do your semi clean work right. your contam ratios should be very similar. i don't find using bags, jars, tubs, sterilized subs, pastuerized subs much difference in contam ratio.

i do however, find that using more straw to me equals more contams. but thats just my situation. i tend to use very little straw anymore. i also don't like the longevity in flushes with straw. other substrates seem to flush more than 2 times. comparatively i find straw to flush maybe 2 good times if that. then contaminating.

as far as cutting corners. your right. clean everything well. i tend to rinse out contamed jars with trich. then wash them in the dishwasher. if i didn't have a dishwasher. i might soak them in a bleach solution. if its a plastic seedling flat. i might toss it out if its real heavy covered in green or give it a bleach bath. with single tubs. i just wipe out with rubbing alcohol. if there is a big green mess on the side of the tub. i spray out the inside with the sink sprayer. then scrub with antibacterial soap. then let it dry. after that dries. wipe the inside with rubbing alc.




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