Are Bamboo Cutting Boards Antimicrobial?

If you’re looking to maximize food safety in your kitchen, opt for a bamboo cutting board. It may provide antimicrobial properties!

Bamboo’s antimicrobial ability is the reason why it grows at a fast rate. This plant has a natural barrier against microbes.

If a bug tries to attack this plant, bamboo eliminates it naturally. In fact, bamboo is one of those rare plants which can fight against anything that nature throws at them.

Some research notes that its antibacterial properties aren’t lost during manufacturing. Yet, bamboo isn’t proven to be antibacterial like wood is.

But, there are certain benefits that make bamboo stand out. Cheap, sustainable, and easy to care for, it’s among the most popular cutting board materials.

Does this board deserve a place in your kitchen? -Let’s find out.

Are Bamboo Cutting Boards Antimicrobial?

Wood and bamboo have natural antimicrobial properties. So, they can prevent bacteria from entering their pores.

Bamboo is said to have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. This means that it has a higher ability to resist microbes than other materials.

Certain studies support such claims. But, other studies note that its antibacterial and antimicrobial characteristics are lost during manufacturing.

Anyway, one thing’s for sure: bamboo is less prone to developing cuts and scrapes and it offers sturdiness and longevity. Despite not being dishwasher-safe, it’s easily cleaned with soap and warm water.

A board with antimicrobial properties may be a better choice for your and your family’s health than some other boards. Wood is always the safest bet because it’s proven to be antibacterial.

A study concluded that people who used wooden boards had a 50 percent lower likelihood of contracting salmonella. The group which used plastic cutting boards had a double risk!

What Does Science Say about Bamboo’s Antibacterial Properties?

The information on whether bamboo is really antimicrobial is mixed. Theoretically, bamboo is believed to avert bugs naturally thanks to its antimicrobial properties. There are certain studies that support these claims.

Bamboo Kun is its antimicrobial agent. It helps the plant grow fast despite any difficult conditions and without the need for pesticides and herbicides.

Bamboo fabric preserves its antifungal and antibacterial properties even after processing. Bamboo boards are made from compressed bamboo. The bamboo tubes are cut into strips.

These strips are stacked one to another and then pressed and cured while being impregnated with a VOC resin. The board is then milled and sanded.

Some studies don’t support this claim.

They note that bamboo’s antibacterial properties are lost during manufacturing. Plus, some studies have tested the antibacterial properties of bamboo and found no significant results.

Since the natural antimicrobial properties haven’t been fully tested, they can’t be guaranteed.

When talking about bamboo boards, you’ll often hear ‘antimicrobial’ and ‘antibacterial’ being used interchangeably.

But, they mean different things.  The former eliminates existing bacteria and prevents the development of other microbes.

The latter destroys mild bacteria. Its range is much smaller than that of antimicrobials. Considering today’s viruses, antimicrobial protection is essential.

Bamboo vs. Wood: Which One Is Really Antimicrobial?

Bamboo is often chosen over wood because it’s cheaper. It also looks beautiful and can be used to prepare a variety of different foods.

It also makes a lovely charcuterie board.

It also feels and looks like wood. But bamboo is not wood. Bamboo is a type of fast-growing grass.

It’s very easy and convenient for cultivation because it doesn’t need chemicals. Unlike bamboo, oak or maple need decades to grow to become mature. Bamboo can be ready for harvest within a year.

Unlike the confusing info on whether bamboo is really antimicrobial or not, wood is proven to be antibacterial.

The University of Wisconsin found that 99.9% of bacteria on a wooden cutting board started to die within several minutes. And, no living bacteria were found on the board the next day.

Wood is also gentler on knives and doesn’t warp and crack as fast as bamboo does when it’s exposed to water.

Bamboo boards may also develop black mildew if left in water for too long. With this in mind, professional chefs and home cooks favor wood.

How to Remove Bacteria on Bamboo Cutting Boards?

Often highlighted for its antimicrobial characteristics, bamboo may deter bacteria and other microbes.

But the research isn’t conclusive like it is with wood.

Research by the International Convention of the Society of Wood Science and Technology showed that bamboo doesn’t have any natural antibacterial properties compared to other textile fibers.

So, assuming your bamboo cutlery doesn’t need extra hygienic measures isn’t justified.

The good news is that the removal of bacteria from bamboo boards can be done with white vinegar and water. This also destroys mold. Another great option is to rub the board with a cut lemon.

Final Thoughts

When promoted, bamboo cutting boards are often presented as antimicrobial. It’s believed that they have a natural ability to hinder microbes.

This is why bamboo grows so fast and undisturbed in its natural habitat. And, some claim that these properties remain despite the manufacturing processes.

But, bamboo isn’t proven to be antimicrobial or antibacterial like wood. And, there are studies that found that bamboo had no effect on microbes.

Still, bamboo has some other awesome features to offer. It looks awesome, it’s versatile, and it makes a lovely charcuterie board.

if you still love having it, but you’re not sure if it’s free of microbes, don’t worry. There are effective hacks to sanitize them!

Distilled white vinegar and lemon juice provide excellent results.

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