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Re: [SB-r-us] Fermentation as workability enhancement for Earthen Plasters [Fwd: GSBN: Digest for 10/12/07]

Rob Tom wrote:
> I suspect that most people know what happens to newspaper and white paper  
> over time as a result of the bleaching process that was used during its  
> manufacture. In time, the fibre degrades and disintegrates due to the  
> residual acid content.
> Degraded/disintegrated fibre = no fibre= no long-term tensile  
> reinforcement in the plaster
True, but mixing the paper mash with alkalitic lime should neutralize 
the acids, I think.

In the fermentation process described here the yeasts at work could 
include certain strains which have been found to create biosurfactants. 
One strain is named Candida ishiwadae, and it's both quite heat tolerant 
and tough in other ways. The biosurfactant this strain (and probably 
others like it) produce are in fact the ones made in industrial 
processes and used in detergents ( monoacylglycerols, also used as 
emulsifiers in food and cosmetic industries.)
As for the rest of it, the other yeasts and microorganisms could be 
converting some of the sugars left in the paper into ethanol and CO2 
(the smell of bread rising). So, eat up the sugars while brewing up a 
batch of emulsifying biosurfactants, and not only is the render easier 
to apply but there isn't much food stuff left for mold to grow on.

The above is all pure conjecture on my part, of course, and should be 
taken as such. It's either complete nonsense or reasonably logical ( 
given the little I do know) and could be researched by qualified 

Of course, for our purposes, if fermenting the paper/ clay blend before 
adding it to the render mix turns out to make the plastering better, the 
technicalities of why it works can be left for said microbiologists to 
deal with. I do know that traditional potters in China mix manure into 
clay and leave it for generations before their children or grandchildren 
use the clay, so this fermentation may be what is happening there too.

To me, the whole notion rings true and is worth pursuing further.


Chris Green.

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