Mold presents on wood surfaces when conditions are favorable for growth. It requires four key elements to order to take root, survive and grow:
In order for mold to grow on pallets, crates, and other wood packaging, it must have moisture. In general, pallets stored in a location with 60% humidity or greater have a better chance of becoming contaminated, but it’s not impossible for mold to grow in conditions with far less humidity. The moisture level of the wood itself also plays a role. Wood with greater than 19% moisture content also encourages mold growth. Your wood packaging should never be built from green or wet wood.
Mold requires oxygen to take root and grow. For obvious reasons, it’s impossible to control the oxygen levels in areas where wood or wood products are stored. On the other hand, vacuum-sealing products stored on wood pallets can help reduce the risk contamination.
Many types of mold are capable of growing in a wide range of temperatures as long as moisture is present. In general, however, mold grows best in warm temperatures. Ideal temperatures for mold growth are between 70 and 85 degrees fahrenheit.
4. Food Source
If all other conditions are met with regard to moisture, oxygen, and temperature, the wood in your wood packaging becomes an ideal food source for many types of mold. Unfortunately, mold will also feed on the products that are stored on your pallets and crates. Nearly anything that contains natural sugars and proteins can become food for mold as well, including apparel, food & beverage products, pharmaceutical products, toys, household items, etc.