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Performance Characteristics of Borate Fatty Acid Formulations as Mold Inhibitors


Robert D. Coleman



Publication type:

Research Paper (RP)

Primary Station(s):

Forest Products Laboratory


USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, Research Paper, FPL-RP-673, 2013; 9 p.


The combination of boric acid (BA) or disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT) and a fatty acid (FA) such as heptanoic, octanoic, and nonanoic acids (C7–C9) is an effective treatment solution for protecting wood structures against mold. BA or DOT alone have substantial potency against insects and decay fungi, but have negligible or no mold inhibitor activity. However, boric acid or DOT combined with a fatty acid either as a dip or vacuum treatment appears to act synergistically to inhibit mold growth. Southern Pine vacuum-treated with BA (or DOT)/FA appears to retain much or all of its inhibitor properties after extensive leaching with water. Boric acid/FA and DOT/FA formulations applied as dip solutions had similar efficacy against the test fungi, but greater efficacy as a mold inhibitor was achieved when DOT was formulated with C7, C8, or C9 FA and used as a vacuum treatment.


Coleman, Robert D.; Yang, Vina; Clausen, Carol A. 2013. Performance characteristics of borate fatty acid formulations as mold inhibitors. Res. Pap. FPL-RP-673. Madison, WI: U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory. 6 p.


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