How to prevent red heat

The first line of defence is to prevent red heat organisms from coming into contact with skin/hide
• Use only stoved (furnace-treated) salt – it’s safe to assume all raw salt (including mined salt) is infected
• Don’t re-use salt
• Don’t store unstoved and stoved salt anywhere near each other – even if the salt is bagged, infection can spread from the unstoved salt
• Be meticulous about hygiene and “housekeeping”. Keep everything clean and free of used salt
• Wooden pallets, pallet covers, and salt bags should not be reused. Plastic pallets should be thoroughly cleaned before reuse
• Don’t import the problem. If buying in salted material, it may pay to quarantine it until it’s been examined and found to be “clean”
• Extra care should be taken in processing halophile-affected material – disposing of salt, packaging etc and cleaning and disinfecting equipment
• For cleaning, we recommend a thorough physical clean (scrubbing, water blasting) to get rid of the bulk of the material, followed by hypochlorite. There is some evidence that, because of the nature of the organisms, quats may not be very effective
• If a raceway system or lixator are used they should be cleaned and the salt replaced regularly

 

 

The second line of defence is the use of salt additives
• A pH modifier is added to salt– traditionally boric acid or sodium carbonate were used, now citric acid has replaced boric acid due to REACH and BPR. Sodium carbonate raises the pH which encourages the growth of halophilic bacteria, so to prevent red heat an acid is preferred. However, in acidic conditions halophilic fungi can become a problem
• A biocide is also used – until recently dichlorophen was a popular and effective choice, but for the same reason alternatives have had to be found
• Follow the manufacturers recommendations with regard to dosing of biocides
• It is very important to mix the salt and additives thoroughly prior to putting the hides or skins in the drum
• If premixed salt with additives is used, it can settle over time making the mixture non-homogeneous

 

Image: Amazing photography of a salt lake in Ukraine photographed by Sergey Anashtevych