Mould Problem: HELP Please.

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mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
4,794
1
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
Hi folks, I have read of instances where members have found mould in their tobacco, most usually in newly opened tins from certain manufacturers but until yesterday I had never seen any mould on any of my blends.
I buy my tobacco mainly in tins and do one of two things...I put some away for future smoking and I put some in jars so as I can decant from the jars into 50g tins for immediate smoking. This I have done with no ill effects since 2015.
It is one of these jars (roughly one pint bail top type) that was holding Brown Sugar Flake (made for The Danish Pipe Shop by Samuel Gawith) that is showing mould. About a week ago I just flipped the lid to check that it wasn't drying out (it wasn't) and did my normal thing of sticking my nose in there. The smell in that jar was quite sublime...vinous and fruity, absolutely glorious. I clipped the lid back on with a smile, knowing good things were happening in that jar containing roughly 150g of one of my favourite blends.
However, yesterday I opened up the jar to decant some of the baccy into my tin. First thing I did was sniff it and again it was delightful...until I actually looked in the jar. There is an area of about one square inch that is mouldy...fruiting body mouldy. I shall later try to gently scoop it out with a fork and inspect it under the microscope but I have two questions.
One, why has this happened? It is one of about 15 jars that are holding blends, all kept in the same room and to which no moisture has been added. I would guess it has been in the jar some five months and is already rubbed out.
Two, is the rest of the baccy still good to smoke assuming I can scoop all of the mould out? I would be heartbroken to have to ditch the remainder as BSF is pretty hard to get hold of.
I'm now of course wondering if that delightful smell was actually the mould. It sort of reminded me of a well matured bale of silage which has to be smelled to be appreciated.
Any advice here would be most welcome.
Regards,
Jay.

 

prairiedruid

Preferred Member
Jun 30, 2015
1,698
45
Could be the mold spores were already on/in the tobacco before you even got it. Mold spores are everywhere and can be inactive for long periods of time before "waking up". As to smoking it......since it was fruiting it means you'll be smoking mold spores; not usually a good thing. Some people scrape off or cut away the effected tobacco and smoke it anyways. Up to you how to weigh the risk vs. reward on this.

 

aldecaker

Preferred Member
Feb 13, 2015
4,409
7
If I were a man with lung problems, I wouldn't take any chances with smoking mold spores.

 

samcoffeeman

Senior Member
Apr 6, 2015
441
0
That is definitely a problem. You could have tainted it yourself when you opened it. I never open my jars unless I am going to smoke out of it. Opening releases all the goodness that is happening inside for the aging process. Always wash your hands and be sure your jars are clean before jarring. Best practice is to keep a bottle of high proof(90%) alcohol handy. I'll wipe the inside of my jar and lid and my hands before jarring my tobacco. Just give it a minute to dry and it'll be sterilized.

 

madox07

Preferred Member
Dec 12, 2016
1,466
152
Hmmm ... mold usually comes up with moisture. Perhaps you washed the jar and din't properly dry it out? It may very have looked dry when you put the tobacco in it, but given the fact that pipe tobacco does contain some water ... the mold might have thrived on that tobacco moisture, as the jar was already contaminated. Although ... glass is usually a sterile medium for mold. Pictures would help, yes.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,825
2,663
Chicago, IL
My one experience with mold was with a resealed tin that had been thoughtlessly placed atop a source of low-level heat (an idling cable TV converter). The smell was so rank that I tossed the whole tin.
Your tobacco may be salvageable. Consider, if you will, that whatever spores did germinate were already ensconced in the blend; and that when we smoke, we're exposing ourselves to dormant spores anyway. (Hell, what's the sense of having an immune system if you don't use it!)
IMO, if the tobacco has a proper smell (and taste), then you're probably in the clear. Too, consider that the smoke itself is carcinogenic, and probably placing you at a greater health risk than the dormant mold spores.

 

mawnansmiff

Preferred Member
Oct 14, 2015
4,794
1
Sunny Cornwall, UK.
WOW chaps, I just got the shock of my life! I took a fork to the mouldy patch and lifted it...only to find that the mould went right to the bottom of the jar pretty much in a vertical line.
There was a 'chimney' of mouldy tobacco and though it was right at the edge of the jar I couldn't see through the glass due to the sticker I had applied.
With deft work with tweezers and the fact that it seemed to be well adhered to itself I managed to get the lot out...a fair few bowls at least!
The remainder I have put in a tin and will air it until it's smokeable then work through it pretty damned quick though I shall be checking it daily :roll:
The jar was brand new (though I never cleaned it afore use) so now what to do to thoroughly cleanse the jar? Boiling water is out...perhaps very hot soapy water, rinse, dry then a wipe down with 99% alcohol?
Physical fitness allowing I shall attempt posting pictures on the morrow.
I'm very sad...to lose any baccy is bad but to lose BSF is terrible :crying:
Regards,
Jay.

 

cortezattic

Preferred Member
Nov 19, 2009
14,825
2,663
Chicago, IL
After that experience, I wouldn't blame you for becoming completely anal about cleanliness (excuse the oxymoron). But this whole incident may be a one-time happenstance. Your previous habits seemed to have worked just fine to this point, so I wouldn't change too much.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,756
1,752
Jars usually come cleaner than if you cleaned them. We had a member years ago who had the capacity to test them, and they come very sterile, the Mason/Ball Jars do anyways.

 

oldgeezersmoker

Preferred Member
Oct 7, 2016
1,335
280
I don't want to upset anybody, but from its description Brown Sugar Flake sounds like an ideal medium for culturing mold. I have ordered two 250g packages of G & H in recent months, Balkan Flake and St.James Flake. Sopping wet on arrival.

 

madox07

Preferred Member
Dec 12, 2016
1,466
152
I wouldn't smoke that mate ... just throw it away, mold is very bad for your lungs. Also I have read that mold can be really bad if you have certain allergies.. as in to the point of anaphylactic shock.

 

toobfreak

Preferred Member
Dec 19, 2016
1,365
0
Funny how tobacco lays and hangs around for months in factories, in piles on old wooden carts, handled by all kinds of people, deveined, treated and processed, squashed, pressed, cooked, sprayed, then we get it at our homes and need to treat it with kid gloves under sterile conditions!

 

woodsroad

Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
8,386
331
Two step process here:
1. Confirm that it is indeed mold.
2. Throw it out, jar and all. Just seal it up quick and toss it. Removing any of the jar's contents will only spread more mold spores around your house.

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
18,756
1,752
Woods, I could have sworn that you had once posted that mold spores are everywhere already, and it is just when conditions become right that they start to grow. I'm confused. Is there new information?

 
Mar 16, 2014
1,606
54
What woodsroad said. I get it though... you think it's just like bread, right? Tear off the moldy bit and eat the rest. The only thing is that some molds inhaled into the lungs can be a very very bad thing. I wouldn't want to take the risk, but you should be okay.

 

woodsroad

Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
8,386
331
No new information, Michael.
Mold spores are everywhere. But not in the concentration found in a fruiting batch of tobacco. If you have a pile of tobacco that is blooming with mold of a variety that obviously thrives there, then you have a veritable spray nozzle of trouble.

 

woodsroad

Preferred Member
Oct 10, 2013
8,386
331
Best practice is to keep a bottle of high proof(90%) alcohol handy. I'll wipe the inside of my jar and lid and my hands before jarring my tobacco. Just give it a minute to dry and it'll be sterilized.
I'm not a microbiologist, but it is my understanding that wiping a jar with alcohol will not kill mold spores. The spores would need to soak in alcohol for an extended period in order to be killed.
There's a lot of good info out there on the web about the difference between clean, sanitized and sterilized.

 
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