Prophylactic Treatment of Bamboo/Bamboo Mats


Bamboo is easily attacked by insects and fungi due to presence of starch and sugar in abundance. Prophylactic treatment of either bamboo or bamboo mats is very  essential to enhance their life during storage.

There are two types of prophylactic treatments viz.,
(1) Traditional or Non-Chemical Treatment
(2) Chemical Treatment. 

Traditional or Non-Chemical Treatment:

Traditional or non-chemical methods are being widely used by villagers and artisans in several countries for man centuries and the  skill is passed on from generation to generation. Typical traditional methods include: smoking, white washing, and water storage or pounding. 



Smoking is carried out in chambers. This produces toxic agents and heat which destroy starch in bamboo thus making them immune to insect attack and also blackens the culms.


White washing:

Bamboo culms and mats are often painted with slaked lime, which prolongs their life by delaying/reducing moisture absorption.


Storage in Water:

Freshly cut bamboo is stored either in running water or in water pools for 3-4 weeks to leach out starch. This process prevents bamboo from insect attack. In case of water pool water has to be changed frequently to prevent fouling.


Although traditionally treated bamboo show increased resistance to insect and fungal attack compared to freshly cut culms, these methods do not provide long term durability.


Chemical Treatment:

Chemical treatment is more effective than traditional treatments. Typical chemical treatment methods uses water soluble preservatives like Gamma BHC 0.5%, Formalin 0.5% , Phenol+ 1 Copper sulphate (1: 2), sodium penta chlorophenate 0.5% and Borax 1.5%. The chemicals are dissolved in water. Bamboo or bamboo mats are either sprayed with the solution or dipped in the solution for 10 minutes. After treatment the bamboo mats are  stored in shade till they are processed further.


Bamboo is non-durable in its natural state. Durability can be greatly increased by preservation with safe, environment-friendly chemicals, such as boron. Several simple and cost-effective treatment methods are available.



Preservation Treatment Methods


Boucherie Treatment
boucherie tank drip tank
PreservativeTank Drip Tank

Sap replacement with boron under pressure



Dip Diffusion Treatment
tank tank
Through-and-through creosote penetration Drilled holes to increase penetration
tank tank
Through-and-through boron penetration
internodal crestoe
Internodal creosote injection
crestoe penetration
  Through-and-through creosote penetration


Vapour Boron Treatment
vapour boron treatment



Graveyard Test after Treatment


graveyard test
Termite attack on untreated samples after 6 months
termite attack
Samples part-buried in termite infested ground No termite attack on treated samples
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