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Sterilizing Pallets of Styroblocks

Screen shot of the cover page for the report described in this article.

Styrofoam container blocks (styroblocks) are popular for growing seedlings in nurseries. The styroblocks come in various sizes and can be reused several times. Residual organic matter within the blocks may harbor pathogens that could infect future seedling crops. Sterilizing the styroblocks using traditional methods, such as hot-water dipping, is time consuming and labor intensive. MTDC evaluated several treatments for reducing fungal contamination of styroblocks.

The report, Using a Steamroom To Sterilize Pallets of Styrofoam Seedling Container Blocks (0524–2808–MTDC), describes testing to evaluate the effectiveness of radio frequency waves, dry heat (low humidity), and wet heat (high humidity) in sterilizing the styroblocks. The report also describes the fabrication and evaluation of a steamroom at Lucky Peak Nursery, ID, that can sterilize 4,000 styroblocks at one time.

For more information on sterilizing styroblocks, contact Andy Trent, project leader (phone: 406–329–3912; e-mail:

To order the report, contact MTDC publications (phone: 406–329–3978; e-mail:

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