THE EFFECTS OF NATURAL ZEOLITE ON MOLD ABSORPTION
Mold and mildew are microorganisms that thrive on excess moisture. Their digestive processes often release noxious odors and cause enclosed rooms like basements or garages to smell musty. In addition, mold releases spores into the air that can be hazardous to humans and animals (Park et al., 2009).
Natural zeolite acts as a molecular sieve that prevents and eliminates mold by absorbing moisture and trapping odors. Because of its porosity and cation exchange capacity, noxious odors are trapped inside its crystalline structure and removed from the surrounding environment.
Zeolite’s absorption capabilities also create efficiencies when cleaning damp areas such as basements, workshops, or garages. It is not necessary to completely dry floors or walls prior to prior zeolite application because the mineral naturally absorbs moisture and odors upon contact.
On a larger scale, anti-fungal mortars and concretes were developed to prevent the growth of toxic mold inside of building structures. When structures are exposed to moist conditions for a prolonged period, the population of microorganisms can spread swiftly. Concrete containing microorganisms typically suffers from four problems: corrosive chemicals released by metabolism; creation of environments that promote the corrosion of steel; creation of open porosity due to penetration by insects; the formation of stains on the surface of concrete (Park et al., 2009).
A paper by Park et al. (2009) examined how anti-fungal mortars and concrete employ micro-encapsulated fungus-resisting material to prevent mold outbreaks. All products discussed in the study contain zeolite and zeocarbons to reinforce capsule membranes. Essentially, zeolite was added to cement products to prevent anti-fungal microcapsules membrane from damage due to friction and impact during mixing, casting, and placing stages of mortar and concrete.
The results indicated that both zeolite and zeocarbon are effective in reducing damage to microcapsules in mortal and concrete. Also, the effectiveness of anti- fungal mortar was verified; fungus did not grow on mortal panels containing anti-fungal microcapsules. Based on study conclusions, researchers recommend a 5 percent addition of anti-fungal microcapsules to mortar and concrete.