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How to sterilize Sphagnum moss

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I haven't heard of anyone having a problem using sphagnum moss, but I came across this a few years ago so I thought I might as well post it.  I have no links or article title. There's a fungus that lives on sphagnum moss "Sporothrix schenckii" that can cause a fungal infection if the spores enter skin through cuts or scratches, or by inhalation.  It can be killed by pasteurizing the moss.  This is done by wetting the moss with water in a large pan so it is not more than 4" deep.  A meat thermometer is put into the moss and everything is covered by aluminum foil, except the thermometer.  This is put in an oven at around 250* F until the thermometer says the internal temp of the moss has reached 180* F.  Then the heat is turned down enough to keep it at 180-200 F for 30 minutes.  This is supposed to kill most pathogenic organisms, plant or animal, and leave other important properties of the moss, unchanged.  This works for sterilizing soil too.  Apparently heating soil too high or too long can have "adverse effects on its structure" (no details were given in the article that said that.) Some articles say 140-160 degrees is all right, but I think it has to be heated for an hour then.  Some say it can be done in a microwave, others say not to use a microwave.  Nobody says why it is or is not OK. Something else I've heard is that moistening something then heating it to at least 160* until it dries is also a good way to kill pathogens.  If they are dry and dormant to begin with they can sometimes withstand much more heat.  But moistening them first brings them out of dormancy and the quick drying and high temperature kills them because they can't adjust fast enough.  
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Guest Friday, 13 December 2019

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