Fungi and Mould in The HOTBIN

Wednesday, 15 July 2015  |  HOTBIN Composting

Fungi and Mould in The HOTBIN

The term fungi includes moulds and yeasts, and many types of fungi are responsible for helping the decomposition of waste within a compost pile.

Most fungi live on dead or dying material (plant or animal) and obtain energy by breaking down organic matter. They are mainly associated with digesting the carbon and harder to digest materials such as cellulose. There are also specialist fungi groups that can decompose the highly resistant lignin, a woody substance found in most paper and wood based items using ligninase and lignin modifying enzymes (LME’s). Wood decay is also often associated with white and brown rot specialist fungi.

Usually found in moderate temperatures of 21-24°C (although some can live as high as 49°C) fungi have the ability to digest dry, acidic and carbon rich materials that bacteria struggle to digest. Once these tougher materials have been broken down, it allows the bacteria to continue the decomposition process.

Does Fungi need to be removed from the HOTBIN?

Signs of composting fungi in the HOTBIN is usually indicative of a HOTBIN that is not operating at hot composting temperatures. This can often be in the form of long trailing spores or white fluffy mould. The mould you might see growing on the sides of the HOTBIN, which is white/greyish in colour and has a visible fur like texture, is the common composting fungus white mycelia and it usually appears when a compost bin is operating at lower temperatures.

Once the internal temperature of the HOTBIN is hot composting between 40-60°C these fungi will be unable to survive.

common white furry composting mould

If you do find them in your HOTBIN and wish to remove them we would recommend wiping the mould off the surfaces of the HOTBIN using kitchen roll (we would strongly advise wearing gloves whilst doing this) and then composting the used kitchen roll in the HOTBIN to destroy any spores.

For more information:

http://www.compostheaven.com/compost.html
http://compost.css.cornell.edu/microorg.html