Bamboo: Curing and Preservation

Bamboo: Curing and Preservation

Author: Karmuki E

Bamboo is widely used as a raw resource for a wide range of products. It is said that bamboo is used by one-third of humans, and it acts as an integral part of human needs across many regions. It’s unique properties of having strength, which is used in industries, and its long fibre sources were used in the production of pulp and paper. Bamboo is economically less expensive compared to other materials; thus, it is termed as the "poor man’s timber".

Bamboo has less resistance to biological degrading agents, which might cause serious damage to it. Nowadays, various protective treatments, especially eco-friendly protective techniques, are practised to magnify bamboo’s durability, and it is highly suggested to treat and protect bamboo with many natural and chemical methods to avoid cracking and decaying.

The following is a blog about bamboo preservation, and we’ll look into the right ways to treat bamboo from damages, this blog will provide us with useful information and guide the bamboo users. 


Bamboo: Curing and Preservation (


Now let’s see how bamboo is preserved.

Bamboo is a robust plant that is naturally resistant to pests and diseases. Bamboo also contains a lot of starch and sugar, which attracts fungus, termites, mould, and powder-post beetles, among other things. Here, we will highlight the effective traditional techniques such as smoke treatment, watch leaching techniques, and chemical procedures such as butt technique, vacuum pressure technique, etc., and the efforts that are to be made by countries to preserve bamboo. Below given aresome techniques that are scientifically sound and economically friendly to follow. As a result, bamboo must be treated to extend its longevity and preserve the bamboo from insects before being used to make furniture, handicrafts, and other items. 

Traditional techniques to preserve bamboo:

This is the simplest method, which is mainly used by locals. The main merit of this technique is that it is very cheap without chemicals, and it doesn’t need any special equipment. Now, we will discuss various techniques that come under the traditional perspective.

  • Smoking Treatment: This is a method in which bamboo culms are placed above the fire. Heat and fire are exposed for many more weeks, and the toxic agents which are present in smoke can break down the starch, blacken the culm, and make it resistant to insects and fungus.
  • White leaching technique: This is a technique, where culms are submerged in running water or stored in stagnant water for three to four weeks, this tends to reduce starch content level. This boost in durability, and there will be a reduction in the attack of fungus and other microorganisms. This method is still used and is highly recommended by farmers.
  • Curing technique: Here, people store the fresh bamboo for one or two weeks. During this process, the evaporation in grass plants tends to cause a loss of starch and can attack the organisms. This is more advisable to follow before using bamboo.
  • Harvesting technique: Harvesting time and seasons might affect the durability of the bamboo, particularly in dry seasons. There will be an increase in starch level and greater fungi attack. Thus, the rainy seasons are the best periods of time to harvest.

Modern techniques to preserve bamboo:

When we look for a long-term technique, chemical techniques ensure the longer life of bamboo. Chemical treatment includes and depends upon the culm conditions, and eventually, materials will be put on it. Now we will discuss the common chemical-based techniques that are used to preserve bamboo: -

  • Butt end technique: when we need to treat only a few culms, this technique can be followed. Here, the culms along with leaves will be placed in a vessel with solution, leaves will take the solution inside and act as the pump, through the process of transpiration. After one or two weeks, we can see a difference in the colours of the leaves and again place them to regain the surplus preservatives.
  • Pressure chamber technique: Culms are kept tightly closed for seven to ten days in water chambers with solutions that are pumped into the pressure chambers to raise the pressure.
  • Vacuum pressure technique: Thin culms tend to crack under low pressure, and chemicals are pushed into pores with the use of vacuum and pressure. This might eliminate cracks and this would decrease the bamboo’s strength.
  • Hot and cold technique: It is a simple method, where bamboo is submerged in a solution in a tank with heating up to 90˚C and maintaining the temperature for three to six hours. When the bamboo is heated, the cells extend and loss moisture, and when it is cooled, the cells shrink and the preservatives are absorbed.


Bamboo: Curing and Preservation (


Further, when I did research on this topic, I found that many countries have a lack of awareness and don’t know about the treatment techniques to prevent bamboo decay. Bamboo is mostly treated poorly and this tends to crack and decay. So, bamboo must be treated to improve its natural durability and prevent it from insect infestations. It is highly recommended to follow the above-mentioned techniques to minimize the decaying.

Mainly, villagers use bamboo for structural purposes, and it is mostly not treated well and is deteriorated. Hence, countries must exert high pressure to increase the reputation of bamboo and must stress the importance of both traditional and modern techniques. These are the common techniques that are used to preserve bamboo.

As a result, bamboo which has not been treated well can be durable for two to three years. If it is preserved and stored from insects, it may be available for around six years. These techniques might increase longevity in terms of thickness, length, and strength. 

It is very essential to preserve bamboo. We must have a key focus on the environmental and economic perspectives of bamboo. It is known from our blog that techniques such as harvesting, smoking, and water leaching techniques are environmentally and economically safe, and modern (chemical techniques) can be used to gain preservation for a longer duration. These are the common techniques that can be used to preserve bamboo, and still various research and development can be done to preserve bamboo.


Bamboo: Curing and Preservation (