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Mold Control...Air Filtration/Photocatalytic Oxidation

Looking to see if anyone has any growing experience with using Photocatalytic Oxidation systems for control of mold/odor and mildew in indoor gardens.

Over the years I have tried lots of different approaches to control powdery mildew and other airborne issues. Recently I noticed some folks promoting a process called “Photocatalytic Oxidation” to the cannabis growing community. Specifically a firm called, Airoclean420. ( https://www.airoclean420.com ) On first blush it sounds like some of the outrageous claims that I have seen over the years for all sorts of cannabis growing related products, however the concept appears to be solidly grounded, ( http://www.filtsep.com/hvac/features/air-purification-dual-filtration-approach-meets/ ).

While the Airoclean420 folks are obviously focused on our market, a simple google search turned up several other manufacturers. I would be curious if anyone has any experience with them. The unit that looked most interesting was from a firm called, Airpura, ( https://www.filterdepot.ca/airpura-central-air-purifiers/213-airpura-p600w-p600-w-photocatalytic-oxidation-central-air-purifier.html#idTab4 ). While costly at approx $1500 (US) it has the promise of not only controlling pathogens but also odor. If one were to use this unit in a 1,000 sq ft grow space and achieve a 1% increased harvest it would more than pay for itself in a year.

Bottomline here is we have all seen years of outrageous claims from manufacturers. Any experience with these systems?

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Hey Joseph! I think you should chat with @tlmcconn. He can probably be of some assistance with his expertise in Air filtration for indoor operations.

@tlmcconn jump in on this conversation.

Happy chatting and growing!

~Kareenabis~

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I have seen several grows equipped with these types of units and they saw ZERO improvement in plant disease. One case, but slightly different tech, made it worse. To be fair, they had the worst case of PM I had ever seen but despite the outrageous claims of the manufacturer, the product did not do what they said it would. Not even close.
The best method for control of plant disease and airborne pathogens I have found is proper environment and consistent policy on post harvest clean up. The other, and by far the most effective method to avoid disease, is simply not to introduce it in the first place. I talk with growers every week that are battling PM because they brought infected clones into their previously clean facility. Not to mention all the cases of root aphids, broad mites, and hemp russet mite that are plaguing commercial growers right now. Every case I have consulted on started with the same thing… Bringing in infected plant material. Just say no to bringing in someone else’s problems and save yourself the headache and cost of trying to fix an unnecessary problem. An ounce of prevention is worth far more than a pound of cure in this case.

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Ron,

Thanks for the reply.

I am a tech freak and tend to hope the newest gadget will solve a problem. That said I have been at this for 20 years and have watched all the spurious claims of nutrient suppliers, the switch to digital ballast that was going to save $, and the introduction of LED’s where initial claims were that a 200 w led was going to replace a 1000w HPS.

As you correctly point out, PM issues are almost impossible to eliminate once they start.

I am curious as to what the other technology you saw in operation that actually harmed the plants.

Joe R

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Hi Joe. Not really harmed them but seemed to speed up the spread of the PM rather than “completely eliminating it in less than 24 hours”. This was an ultraviolet/hepa filtration system supposedly used to sterilize operating rooms. The claim was that within hours, it would have scrubbed the entire grow room and killed all spores that were airborne. Unfortunately, that was not the case.
I have been growing since 1975 and have always been a “show me don’t tell me” type of person. If I had a dollar for every salesman that has come into one of my grow facilities with the latest and greatest thing that will get me twice as much in half the time, make me rich, have me living on my own private island in less than a year, etc, I actually could have done one of those things!
Farming, no matter the crop, is never going to be a get rich quick business. It’s hard work that requires serious dedication and is not for most people. If you seriously do not love growing, find another profession because there are far easier jobs out there. And, to this point in my career, I have never found a magic bullet that makes it any easier or more profitable. There is no substitute for learning through experience and not repeating the same mistakes.

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Joseph,
The products you have listed do not produce H2O2. They say they are a Photo Catalytic Oxidation system but if it does not produce H2O2 its not. Yes, a clean environment is a must but if you want to kill and prevent PM, H2O2 is a must. Would like to help you with this issue.

Terry

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Hepa filtration systems only cleans the air that passes through the filter. Our system produces H2O2 24/7 and goes everywhere the air goes.

Terry

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Terry, thanks for your reply. Judging by Kareenabis’s referral your the guy to shed some light on this question.
As I mentioned in starting this thread I had begun to see advertising for air purification systems that claimed to reduce/eliminate mold and other airborne bacteria. Their claims of over 1000 grow installations piqued my interest. Since starting this thread I have yet to find any positive reports on the use of photocatalytic oxidation units (TiO catalyst w/ UV bulb) so it leaves me dubious of their claims.
The search did uncover the technology that you favor where as I understand it the system creates hydrogen peroxide from the moisture in the air and then ionizes it. Since I use peroxide to sanitize all of our growing equipment after a harvest I am already partial to the use of peroxide. On the downside I could not find any reference to any success stories in the cannabis area.

I would be curious to test the concept in a small grow space, approx 500 sq ft. I notice that there are several companies offering systems such as RGF REME HALO, PEROx PG Air Purifier, or your INDUCT product line. Only RGF seems to provide any pricing.

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I’ve always used sulfur burners as part of my IPM. Sulfur is one of the essential elements needed for plant development and when heated turns into a gas that permeates every nook and cranny. It’s acidic and creates an inhospitable growing environment for spores. It also kills insects as well. You can’t use it in bloom because it will fry your pistols. You also need to protect your hardware (lights fans filters). Never burn with lights on or daylight because it can burn your plants.

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Joseph,
Yes, we have poroduct info on line and would like to discuss small grow test with you. I am going to send you an email with some info about our product.

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Mike, Thanks for the note on Sulfur. Our interest at this point is a preventive maintenance application for our bloom area. We currently treat every two weeks with a neem oil and potassium silicate solution. While this has been effective we sometimes see some powdery mildew and it would be nice to find have a simpler and more effective solution.

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I’m with @mdrust on this one. sulfur burners are one of the lowest-maintenance means of preventing PM. They are effective and super easy to apply.

Follow this advice. It is sound.

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Ventilation, horizontal air flow, proper plant spacing, and sulfur burners are the way to go. If you’re growing in a greenhouse also consider installing a roof vent.

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I agree with @AmericanWeedwolf on the subject of vents! I remember years ago arguing (seemingly until I was blue in the face) with a cultivation facility about the need to install ridge vents. He claimed the water walls and HVAC would sufficiently cool down the facility. Needless to say, he was wrong. Humidity levels were difficult to maintain and he frequently suffered extreme RH swings that resulted in frequent outbreaks of powdery mildew and botrytis. His plants suffered. His master grower often unfairly bore the brunt of his wrath. Furthermore, he had to run his AC’s long into the winter months to control the high temps. He could have mitigated so many problems and high electricity bills just by installing the proper PASSIVE ventilation! Great advice!

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Be sure and check your states rules! Sulfur is NOT allowed to be burned in Washington. There are no registered products in the WSDA database which means if you use it and get caught, your crop will be seized and destroyed!

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Great advice @ron!

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Hi All,

I have to say PCO works as a preventative. I used it in all our facilities as a preventative measure in combination with TRUE Hepa filters.

The best way to combat PM is proper environmental, air flow, and rigid IPM schedule. Also, get rid of those infected clones and start over. Once PM shows, its impossible to eliminate. Nothing can get rid of PM once its there.

Thanks,

John

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Hey John,
What PCO products are you using?

Terry

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tlmcconn
1h
Continuing the discussion from Has anyone had issues passing microbial testing for your products?:

We are producing H2O2 with No ozone 24/7 through the HVAC with our product. Alot more piece of mind with tough microbial testing. Give me your thoughts Growers

Terry

Reply

tlmcconn

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Just to be clear with photocatalytic oxidation - the natural byproduct of killing mold this way also eliminates odor? That sounds like a 2-for-1! Is the odor elimination aspect strong enough for a highly potent grow facility?

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