G7 Removing oxygen from grain

Food SecurityFood Processing

All insects and other pests need to breathe oxygen to survive. Here is a simple tip which can remove oxygen from a storage container. This is only useful if grain is stored in airtight containers such as clay jars or underground pits.

  • When the container is full of dry grain, place a candle firmly into the grain. Make sure it has room to burn without setting fire to the grain. After lighting the candle, put the lid on the container and make it airtight.
  • The candle will continue burning for just a few minutes until all the oxygen is used up. It will then go out. Without oxygen the pests will die before they can damage the grain.

Discussion
  • It is very important that the candle is not pushed too deeply into the grain, just in case it sets the grain alight!
  • What airtight containers are available locally which could be used for this technique? How could these containers be sealed to make them airtight? Could mud or wax could be used to seal them?
  • If possible, try this out with suitable containers. Check on the results after a few weeks and a few months.
  • Remember that if the container is opened or unsealed at any time, the whole process must be repeated.