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  Chlorine Bleach (and Peroxide)
From: Ted.Held at hstna.com on 2001.12.13 at 15:45:05(7901)
Here are a few comments about chlorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite):


Relatively non poisonous - provided you don't acidify it (as by adding

From: Ted.Held at hstna.com on 2001.12.13 at 15:45:45(7904)
Oops. And when bleach breaks down there is also some residual alkali
(sodium hydroxide, caustic soda) left over. This means the pH will be basic
(probably 10 or thereabouts).
From: Alektra at aol.com on 2001.12.16 at 22:08:44(7925)
Nothing I have so far read about sodium hypochlorite, on this list or
elsewhere, suggests that anyone has ever found it inappropriate to use for
plants. I am going to go into more detail on my reasons for bringing up the
question in the first place.

Again, I repeat: Chlorine compounds such as sodium hypochlorite, calcium
hypochlorite, and NaDCC are precisely what tissue culturists use to clean
leaf-cuts and seeds. In fact, sodium dichloroisocyanurate can be used mixed
into the medium, right into the substrate, to discourage microbial growth and
safeguard the plant tissue!

These people do not seem to find a raised final pH to be a problem. For the
professionals among them, often there's a lot of money riding on the
culturing. And naturally, people who culture tissue for a hobby would start
demanding other disinfectants if they didn't like the results they get. If I
were using one of these chlorine compounds on a rhizome or cutting or seed to
plant or culture, I would rinse it afterwards, anyway.

Maybe one of you out there who is culturing tissue at home could comment on
this, or could ask the people on the various home tissue culturing lists, or
at kitchenculturekit.com. I would think that those of you who are doing all
that home tissue culturing to build up the santa-leopoldina species would
know about this.

Cost and availability are serious issues, I think. It is virtually impossible
to get specific plant microbicides in small quantities at a reasonable cost.
Specific plant microbicides are hard to get, impossible to mail order, and
sold in expensive bottles or boxes that are enormous in relation to the size
of a single dose.

I get awfully skittish at the idea of, hypothetically, spending a work day
taking a train out to the country to a farm store so I can spend twenty bucks
on a liter of something just to get 5 or 10 ml, or a pound to get a fraction
of an ounce.

From: Mpclarkeyz at aol.com on 2001.12.17 at 19:51:56(7930)
Hi all

I hope you do not mind my chipping in, Marge is the member of this mailing list but I was the chemical engineer and worked for a company that made lots of sodium and calcium hypochlorites.

Ted covered it pretty well but I have a couple of nit-picks.

You do not get appreciably better biocidal action from chlorine than from hypochlorite. When chlorine dissolves in water it makes hypochlorite ion which does the killing. SO DO NOT ACIDIFY BLEACH SOLUTIONS!!!! As Ted says, it can kill you.

The excess alkalinity in bleach solutions is caustic soda (NaOH), added to improve the shelf life. Without it shelf life would be days, not months. I'm not sure which is worse on your hands--hypochlorite or caustic. Be smart, wear rubber gloves.

And one final, really nit picky, comment. The stink of bleach that remains on your hands if you don't wear rubber gloves is not chlorine, it is a mixture of chlorine oxides, and sometimes chloramines from the bleach attacking proteins. Since none of these are nice compounds, be smart, wear rubber gloves.

Mac Clarke

From: Mpclarkeyz at aol.com on 2001.12.21 at 15:02:19(7972)
Hi all

I have no knowledge about using simple chlorine compounds on plants.

I do have a friend who filled a tablet type pool chlorinator half full of calcium hypochlorite tablets, ran out ot them, and filled the top half with a chlorocyanurate compound (probably trichloro but it doesn't matter). He started the water flow and, fortunately, went back inside. While he was pouring himself a glass of water the pool chlorinator exploded and blew a foot or two of water out of the pool. Mixing water, hypochlorites, and chloroisocyanurates almost always causes an explosion, and people have been killed doing so. BEWARE!!

Organic compounds should never be added to a container of calcium hypochlorite. READ THE STUPID LABEL!!

Hypochlorites and chlorocyanurates are strong (in high concentrations often violent) oxidizing agents, and are very dangerous. So I get upset when people say "nontoxic bleach" or "But if I've got a quart of fungicide I need to get rid of, I can't flush it down the toilet the way I can with a quart of bleach or other chlorine compound." Please do not drink that non-toxic bleach nor dispose of it by pouring it down the drain. If you must dispose of it kill some weeds by pouring it on them, preferably in the sunshine which decomnposes these compounds quickly.

Mac Clarke

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