Here's some info that may be very interesting to those reading this thread. I'm interested in boats and while reading about such there was a post by a Chemist on how to stop wood rot and fungus. Apparently ethylene glycol kills fungus in wood and even on people's bed sores. Here's the link and I'll post his summery. I don't suggest putting this on your plants but it might be good to sterilize the grow area.
01-20-2006, 06:17 AM
I am the person who has most often promoted ethylene glycol antifreeze for curing fungal problems from wood rot to bed sores. I discovered the antifungal properties of ethylene glycol in connection with wood rot back around 1980. Later I translated the action to curing athletes foot and toenail fungus. I amazed my urologist by quickly curing the balanophosphitis on my penis with ethylene glycol as the alternative to his recommended circumcision in the early 1990s. In 1999, my beloved wife became bedridden and a complete invalid. After a while in bed she began to develop incipient bedsores. I spiked the ointment the caregivers were using with ethylene glycol. The sores disappeared, so I gave the caregivers a dropper bottle of ethylene glycol to use on the sores. When Eleanor died in 2002, the caregivers told me they had never seen anyone bedridden so long with such unblemished skin. Just last year, one of these ladies who still works for me had her 97-year old mother in hospice dying of cancer. When the old lady developed bed sores, Louise spiked the lotions the nurses were using with antifreeze. When the bed sores healed, the nurses and doctor were most interested in what she had done.
It is not unusual for chemicals to have a wide range of interactions. Because of strokes I have had, I regularly take a blood thinner to reduce the likelihood of clots and further strokes. The generic name of the thinner is warfarin. Warfarin was developed during WW II as a rat poison by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. It kills the rats by causing internal bleeding. My dose has to be carefully regulated, of course.
Back to wood. Nontoxic propylene glycol antifreeze is useless against rot and insects because it is nontoxic.
Ethylene glycol has properties very similar to water. It is extremely hygroscopic and is powerfully absorbed by wood so that it is not easily washed out. Apparently, only a low concentration is required to kill rot based on my observations of the sustained resistance of glycol-treated wood to rot in bilges regularly submerged.
Antifreeze will very quickly penetrate frozen wood. The best windshield deicer I know is about a 10% solution of ethylene glycol antifreeze in water. Applied to frozen wood, it will melt the ice, promptly penetrate the wood, and kill any rot organisms or boring insects.
There is a product called Boracar® for treating wood to prevent rot and insect attack. It is borates dissolved in ethylene glycol. It is getting a lot of its effectiveness from the ethylene glycol, though this cannot be claimed, as no one has EPA-registered EG as a fungicide and insecticide. On the other hand, research by Gougeon has shown that borate-treated wood gives weak joints with epoxy.
Ethylene glycol penetrates dry or wet wood as no other wood treatment does.