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Crown rot in phal

This is a discussion on Crown rot in phal within the General Orchid Culture forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; I was curious about this too, so I asked a chemist friend of mine about ...

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  1. #21
    LJA's Avatar
    LJA
    LJA is offline OrchidTalk Tech Admin
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    I was curious about this too, so I asked a chemist friend of mine about it.

    As it turns out, the bubbling action caused by the dissolution of hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen (the balanced reaction is: 2H2O2 --> 2H2O + O2) is not what kills the germs. The bubbling will occur when hydrogen peroxide is exposed to anything that catalyzes that reaction (certain metals will make it happen violently), and those catalysts also include heat and light. So if you've ever wondered why hydrogen peroxide is sold in dark brown bottles instead of the clear ones, like rubbing alcohol is, that's why. Light will make it break down. The bubbling of the oxygen out of solution acts as a great cleanser (think of "scrubbing bubbles" that foam dirt away), but that's not what kills.

    Hydrogen peroxide kills germs because it's a very good oxidizer, meaning it wants to strip electrons from other molecules in its surroundings, and it will do that best before it starts to break down and foam. When it strips electrons from the molecules that make up the cell walls of bacteria and fungi, those cell walls rupture, and the organisms die.

    As an aside, molecules that make up pigments are colored because they have extra electrons in their outer shell they're not hanging onto very tightly. When hydrogen peroxide contacts those molecules and strips them of their extra electrons, the molecules change--they're no longer "colorful." (That's how peroxide "bleaches" your hair).

    So, to make a long story short, the bubbling action cleans, but it's the oxidizing, "electron stripping" action that kills, and the two don't necessarily have to coincide. Still, using it for crown rot on orchids is a neat idea--just don't use it as an "all-purpose" wash all the time, or you'll end up mangling the chlorophyll molecules in your plants...

  2. #22
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    It's been over a week since I tried Gilda's remedy (using H202) and guess what...the black stuff is gone! However, I now only have 1/2 leaf left (had to cut off the tip because it was turning yellow), but the crown seems ok so there's still hope for this plant!! If it didn't cost $40, I would probably have given up on it long ago, but now I'm sort of determined to make it survive. Thanks again to everyone for your help!

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    Quote Originally Posted by orchid_fan
    It's been over a week since I tried Gilda's remedy (using H202) and guess what...the black stuff is gone! However, I now only have 1/2 leaf left (had to cut off the tip because it was turning yellow), but the crown seems ok so there's still hope for this plant!! If it didn't cost $40, I would probably have given up on it long ago, but now I'm sort of determined to make it survive. Thanks again to everyone for your help!
    Glad you are seeing improvement ! Saving the crown is what matters !

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