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 Post subject: Anyone heard of Calcium Propionate / propanoate
PostPosted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:51 am
Posts: 18
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Has anyone heard of the use of calcium propionate / propanote in the use as tobacco preserving. How is it applied and what does it do? I have found on Wikipedia that it is used in the bakery industry as a mould inhibitor. I am interested to know more, as I have just had 2kgs of shredded tobacco grow mould while in storage. And before someone tells me that it must have been too moist, I KNOW. It was just that I was sweating it in a sealed bucket, and evidently it was too warm and too moist.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone heard of Calcium Propionate / propanoate
PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:18 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 5539
Location: central coast of Kalifornia
No, I had not noted that chem, specifically in the long list of others used in commercial tobacco.
There's worse, I'm sure.
Hope you find the answers you're looking for.
rc


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone heard of Calcium Propionate / propanoate
PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:25 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:08 am
Posts: 46
Location: NSW, Australia
I just noticed this thread but yes I've heard of it and I've been testing it on some my pipe blends I'm experimenting with. Although the stuff is expensive here in Australia, if it works it'll save a lot of heartache later. So far no mould but it has only been 3 weeks or so since I made the plugs I'm trying it on. Realistically I can't say if it works yet, although they were still quite moist when I jarred them for storage so I'll see how it goes. I used about a teaspoon or so in a cup of rum, water, PG and flavourings and sprayed it on the leaf to case it and was quite wet before I pressed the plugs.

It is otherwise known a E282 preservative and used in bread and bakery as a mould inhibitor. Another mould inhibitor is Sodium Benzoate but that needs an acidic environment where Calcium Propionate doesn't. I believe Cornell and Diehl use Calcium Propionate in their blends.

Worth a shot if you have no aversion to additives in your tobacco.

I'll come back and let everyone know if my plugs develop a mould issue, which could either mean, it doesn't work or I didn't add enough. I was working on a 1% basis or there abouts on the weight of tobacco. My home lab is ill equipped for exactness haha On wikipedia they suggest 0.1-0.4% in bakery so maybe I went a little overboard but since I didn't use all the liquid it might be roughly 0.5%

Cheers,
ANT

Edit:
PS: There is someone on an Aussie pipe smoking group that swears by Cholrine Dioxide as an antifungal. It is essentially a gas trapped in water so evaporates and leaves no trace. It is otherwise known as MMS and is supposedly a cancer cure. I'm skeptical of such claims but it may very well kill fungus, although I've not tried it. I guess it is another avenue to explore in the fight against dreaded mould.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone heard of Calcium Propionate / propanoate
PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 5:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:08 am
Posts: 46
Location: NSW, Australia
Well I noticed some mould developing on one of my plugs even though I added Calcium Propionate, which I mixed into the casing solution I sprayed on the leaf before I pressed the plug. So I've removed the offending piece and am allowing the plug to dry further. I have to admit that I was pushing it with the moisture level in the jar so it wasn't surprising that it got mould.

I'll still experiment with Calcium Propionate but next time I make a plug I'll not have it so wet, aiming at a moisture content of around 20-25% before pressing. I watched a Cornell and Diehl tour video and 24% moisture level is what they use when making flakes so at least I have something to work with next time.

Still not sure at how much Calcium Propionate I should be using or the best way to apply it so I have some more experimenting to do.

Cheers,
ANT


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone heard of Calcium Propionate / propanoate
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:14 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:51 am
Posts: 18
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Hi Guys, I originally started this topic and didn't realise anyone had responded to it (still learning how to manage my way around forums). I am based in Auckland and harvest time is Feb / Mar which also coincides when Auckland is at it's most humid period. Last season I lost a lot of leaf due to mould. My original thoughts were to put the leaf in a bath of calcium propionate solution to maybe clean any mould spores that were already on the leaf. I have also learnt that potassium sorbate is also used in the tobacco industry to combat mould. Does anyone have any info as to how that is applied and in what quantities?


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone heard of Calcium Propionate / propanoate
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:08 am
Posts: 46
Location: NSW, Australia
G'day Mike

Perhaps it is only you and I that have any inclination to use preservative. I'm guessing a lot of growers here prefer a more natural smoke without too many additives, which is fair enough.

Not sure about Potassium Sorbate but I did use Sodium Benzoate in combination with Calcium Propionate with good results. Actually the other plugs I made using Calcium Propionate as preservative haven't developed any mold and they were all jarred in a fairly moist state so it was only one batch that failed.

I don't actually apply preservative to my leaf when I store it in cardboard boxes but only when I am preparing it for smoking, whether it is in a plug or a twist because that is when the tobacco will contain the most moisture for me. I did however get an outbreak on some Samsun that I was storing in a box in my curing room that got way too humid and developed mold.

Anyway I assume you are removing the mid rib stem and just storing the leaf in as dry a condition as possible? You want the leaf crispy when placing into boxes.

To apply the preservative and I assume Potassium Sorbate would be a similar application, I dissolve the powder in distilled water and apply liberally on the leaf until it is saturated and very wet. I wouldn't place the leaves into a bath of the liquid but rather pour a cup or however much liquid is necessary in a bucket with the stripped leaf and mix it well so that all the leaf is coated. Then place the wet leaves out to dry again. You'll want them crispy dry again if possible. Better to be safe than sorry I reckon since it can always be re hydrated when ready to smoke.

Also you might want to investigate the PH level that works best with Potassium Sorbate. I know sodium benzoate requires an acidic environment, so I used some citric acid on the batch I made using sodium benzoate to make it slightly acidic. Whether it was sufficient is another story but that's what reckoned might work and I haven't got any mold yet on that batch. All I can say is that it may have helped. That is why I liked the idea of Calcium Propionate, apart from the fact that major pipe tobacco companies like Cornell & Diehl, G L Pease etc use it as a mold inhibitor and it is used widely in bread, it doesn't require an acidic environment which pipe tobacco isn't.

Well hopefully someone else can come along and share some further insights into good mold inhibitors for storing leaf.

Cheers,
ANT


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone heard of Calcium Propionate / propanoate
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:51 am
Posts: 18
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Hi ANT,
Great to hear from an almost local. Where in NSW are you located? Periodicly I get over to OZ, so would be great to catch up for a chin wag over a beer or 2 or 3. If I knew how, I would PM you to get your address / Tel number.
I notice you continually mention plugs, are you chewing or smoking it?
As for mould during storage, I don't have a problem with that. Providing the stems have been thoroughly dried, storing in cardboard boxes was not a problem. I would place a plywood insert over the leaf and weigh it down with a couple of bricks to compact it, however more time than not, I would shred and store in poly pails ready for use. It seems to be a fine line getting the moisture content just right so that it continues to mature and get that sweet tobacco aroma. Too dry and the maturing process halts and too moist risks mould developing.
The problem I had last season was during the colour-curing / drying stage. With 33 plants, hanging it up in the garage is out of the question as there would be no room to move (and I would get it in the ear from the missus not being able to park her car and use the garage. So I have an undercover area I built between the house and the wooden fence. It is out of the direct sun and well ventilated so that the colour-cure / drying can be at a nice slow and gentle pace to ensure an even colour-cure. The problem appears that last season we had an exceptionally humid extended period and a lot of my leaf developed mould during this colour-cure / drying stage completed, hence the reason why I am thinking of treating the fresh leaf before hanging it up.
I am now considering building a kiln which will enable a controlled temp and humidity environment and will shorten the cure / drying stage to 10 days.

Anyhow, will have to do a bit more research into the matter. Will keep you posted with progress and results.

Regards,
Mike


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone heard of Calcium Propionate / propanoate
PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2016 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:08 am
Posts: 46
Location: NSW, Australia
I'm in Sydney Mike.

I smoke the plugs in a pipe. Occasionally I'll chew some for something different but I mainly use snus which I prefer to chew.

Okay, I thought you were getting mould during storage but if it's happening during colour cure then that is a different story. It happens to me too especially after extended rainy spells. Because I grow down the coast at my olds place I can't control it but when I get down there and notice it happening I spray hydrogen peroxide on the affected areas to try and kill the mould. Obviously if the damage is extensive I chuck it but hydrogen peroxide seems to work on small outbreaks. Another thing that someone on yahoo groups harps on about is Chlorine Dioxide. That might be worth investigating because he claims it kills mould, it is a gas trapped in water so leaves no residue once it evaporates.

I think to control it happening in first place you'll have to control the humidity with heat. An electric heater or something is usually applied to control the humidity level. Obviously the area needs to be in a controlled environment like a spare room or garage or tent or something similar. There's probably a few posts on here that talk about it. Just a matter of finding them.

Cheers,
ANT


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone heard of Calcium Propionate / propanoate
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:51 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2006 3:51 pm
Posts: 208
Location: Washington State, USA
For mold you can try diluted vinegar (acetic acid) but it may adversely affect the tobaccos flavor. On my lemon tree I use baking soda mixed with diluted horticultural oil (mineral oil) to kill black mildew. I don't know how safe it is to use on a consumable. Anything that causes an unfavorable ph for mold should control it.


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 Post subject: Re: Anyone heard of Calcium Propionate / propanoate
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:20 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 16, 2015 5:51 am
Posts: 18
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Roy wrote:
For mold you can try diluted vinegar (acetic acid) but it may adversely affect the tobaccos flavor. On my lemon tree I use diluted horticultural oil (mineral oil) to kill black mildew. I don't know how safe it is to use on a consumable. Anything that causes an unfavorable ph for mold should control it.


Thanks for the thoughts. Fresh picked leaves in a quick bath of a weak vinegar solution might help to kill / retard any mould spores already on the leaves, but I wouldn't want to try it during / after the colour cure / drying process, as I suspect that the flavour and smell will permeate into the leaf and definitely alter the finished taste. I think what I have to do is try and control the humidity better. Maybe harvest a bit later when natural humidity is a bit lower.


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