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Moldy tea, what to do?

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Rising Star
I have 2 jars of tea, both were good sitting in the fridge for several months, but the last time I used one it must have gotten contaminated, because it now has mold all throughout it. The other one is still good. On second thought, I should have poured the tea into ice trays and frozen it.

(Not sure why the previous uses of the jar, which were also done in open air with no regard for sterility, didn't result in contamination. Maybe it was just this specific mold species that the tea was prone to getting contaminated with.)

Presumably boiling wouldn't destroy the mycotoxins and the only valid route is extraction.
Now, I've never extracted cactus, as I've never had the need to. So I have no knowledge of extraction teks.

I'm looking for something simple, foolproof and ideally full spectrum / dirty. In particular, no need to perform extra purification steps if the mycotoxins have already been left behind. I just want to remove the mycotoxins.

Which tek would you guys recommend? I see there is Kash's A/B, would that be the simplest one?
I already have what's needed for DMT extractions, so it looks like I'd only need to acquire toluene.
It's not floating, the whole surface is covered in mold and its 'roots' (mycelium) go all the way to the bottom of the jar.
Another question is whether the actives may have been destroyed by it. It feeds on sugars, not alks, so hopefully not. But if so, it would be better to kill the mold ASAP e.g. by basifying it, rather than wait until my toluene arrives.
I hope the biomass of the mold itself doesn't interfere with the extraction.
The tea is already quite thick, so it shouldn't require much reducing, if any.

I understand the point of using HCl in the NP wash is to obtain crystals, which I don't need, so vinegar should be as good.
I've used limonene in DMT extractions and it was messy and led to emulsions, so I'd prefer to use toluene, which presumably is less messy.

Edit: It looks like trichoderma. I've poured some distilled vinegar into the jar for now, will see if it kills the mold and I should get toluene in a week or so.
Oof sounds like quite the mess there. I would add the vinegar and boil it to kill everything and filter out any sludge then freeze it until the toluene arrives.

Maybe this is a blessing in disguise to get you extracting? If you have any other cacti material there is no reason why you couldn't combine it in a Kash A/B tech and extract it all! :)
Trichoderma can produce gliotoxin, which is a thermally stable convulsant poison, though not necessarily in significant amounts. I'm unsure of the solubility of gliotoxin in various solvents, nor whether it might get concentrated during a salting process. Taking a deeper look at the literature would be prudent, as would checking the purity of any extract by using something like TLC.

Trichoderma does also - and more consistently - produce cellulase and pectolase, which is potentially quite useful. It may well cause difficulties if you were to try filtering the brew through paper without having first boiled it. This happened to me with a harmala brew once - it went mouldy whilst sediment was settling out and then the brew digested the filter paper. Highly amusing!
Thanks guys.

Will research gliotoxin. Presumably using HCl in the acid wash would be better than acetic acid, as the crystallization process yields purer extracts.

Another question: my toluene has arrived. It's my first time using toluene, I've only worked with naphtha and limonene so far. It's incredibly smelly, much more than naphtha, and you can smell it through the closed bottle. It will stink up any room it's in. There is no way I can store it as it is in any room meant for human habitation.

Moreover, the bottle it arrived in is made of HDPE. Apparently toluene shouldn't be stored in HDPE.
What should I transfer it to for storage, and what receptacle would you suggest for the extraction?
With naphtha I use glass jars, but I'm worried the toluene may dissolve the rubber gasket inside the lid.
Toluene should be stored in glass or metal containers. And you're right to be concerned about the rubber seal - use silicone or PTFE. A HDPE washer would also be OK.
Yes toluene will eat through plastics in a matter of time and it's a bad sign if you can smell it through the bottle. There shouldn't be any smell when in storage and it should usually be in a metal container... Also if you think toluene smells dont even think about using xylene, eesh.
Kash said:
Yes toluene will eat through plastics in a matter of time and it's a bad sign if you can smell it through the bottle.
Upon inspection I realized the bottle wasn't closed tightly. When closed properly, there is no smell.

So guys, I've done my first toluene pull and acid wash. Had to wait 5 or 6 days for the emulsion (between toluene and the basic soup) to 80% resolve. The salting didn't emulsify at all.

I'm evaporating the mescaline HCl solution now. How much heat can I apply here? The concocting of the plant material was carried out in a PC, with temps above 100C, and it was still a potent tea, so the salts must be fairly heat-stable?

Triglav said:
I would dump it. Stuff can be toxic. Look into Aspergillus molds.
I'll try and get it tested.

By the way, the tea had a foul, moldy smell, which didn't go away straight away after basification, but after a few days it was completely gone.
You can boil off water from your HCL solution, mescaline is heat stable molecule.
Toluene pulls are sometimes not very effective in extracting basic water soup, don't be surprised when your first pull yields low amount of alkaloid.
I see this question come up every so often and it makes me wonder why more people don't do this.... Preserve the tea you don't immediately intend to use.

Once Ive reduced my teas to an amount I find works (not too thick and syrupy but also not a large volume). I preserve what I don't use in jars. I add a squeeze of lemon to make sure the ph I below 4.2 (so nothing nasty can grow in the jar) and then you can use either a water bath or a pressure canner which is what I use to make the tea also. This way the tea will keep indefinitely without you needing to worry about mould.

This jar is roughly 800mls of tea from 2.2kg starting material and contains approximately 1.2g of mescaline so its enough for more than two people, or a single dose if you have equal portions of courage and stupidity :d


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Antichode, that tea is so red. Mine is pitch black.
I did add vinegar originally, but it still went moldy. The pH was around 7, I should have added more.

A question about evaporating HCl. Apparently as you evaporate a diluted HCl solution, the concentration rises to 20%, because water evaporates faster and 20% is the equilibrium point. Wouldn't that be an issue? I don't want my stainless steel pan to dissolve.
Hi Jagube

I find if so two cooks with a pressure cooker for one hour each I get most everything I’m after without too much other slimy stuff. The tea is a light colour at that point and I reduce it untill the colour begins tk darken but I don’t go untill it’s syrupy and super dark. I find it much harder to drink at that point.

As for the HCL question I’m really not sure. You could boil it down in a beaker or some other lab glass? That certainly will not corrode.
Thanks again guys. I've dried it in plastic trays in a heated propagator just to be on the safe side.

Now I'm left with a mix of white crystals and brown stuff. Does this look normal, or does the brown contaminant look excessive? (pictures attached of before scraping and after).

If I wash this with ethyl acetate, should I dry the EA first?


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That’s normal when you use excess HCL. Grind it all up as best you can and wash it with cold acetone, that will clear it up nicely 👌

And what exactly is meant by cold acetone? I thought it was acetone at refrigeration temp, but it turns out its freezing point is -90C. Can I put it in the freezer and chill it to let's say -24C and use that to wash the extract? And will that make the water traces precipitate as ice?
Yes, try to use ice cold acetone from the freezer. If the air humidity is high you might want to either be very quick or wait for it to get lower (if it ever does). You don't want to much water/ice getting in your acetone.

If you're likely to be doing further extractions which require acetone washes I'd suggest saving them up if you have the space for it. At some point the combined losses of mescaline in the acetone would become worthy of recovery.

I can't put a figure on any of this, nor can I guarantee that the recovery would necessarily be easy. There might be a few other interesting molecules in that brown goo tho. it would be a matter of taking a proper look.
Cool, will 'freeze' the acetone and keep it. I guess if I evaporate it I can then extract it using any other tek that works why dry material, bearing in mind any mescaline therein is in salt form.

The weight of the brown extract is ~600 mg.

Now, I've just opened another jar and found this lump in it. The first, moldy jar had a lump like this too, but in this one there is no clear sign of mold - no funny colors and no foul smell, other than the not-so-pleasant but expected smell of cactus tea. Do you have an idea what it may be? Congealed tea? I want to make sure it's not mold. The off-white bit in the lower right corner is worrying, but it could be cactus goop.


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