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Wood (Or Plastic) And Gluten

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I've always read that wood is porous to gluten (plastic, too), so it can be released back into food that comes into contact with cc'd wood. I realized recently, however, that I've never really investigated this before, so I'm hoping someone here has.

Anyone know exactly how this whole wood-is-porous thing works? Like, scientifically? I know the concept of being porous, but I honestly couldn't describe it accurately to anyone, really, if I was called on to explain it.

How does gluten get into the wood, exactly? At a cellular level? Through open spaces between the bonds? Through air pockets that exist naturally in the wood? How far might gluten penetrate the wood?

I figured if I know how it works, then maybe there are other important things I can figure out, like if there are any methods for getting it out. Like, if it's air pockets, would wood that is soaked first (like a bamboo steamer, which, okay, isn't wood, but anyway) be less likely to 'soak up' gluten? If sanding it off works, how much would need to be sanded before finding 'clean' wood? Is there a type of cleaning that can penetrate the wood more than the norm and actually wash out or destroy the gluten without damaging the wood?

And the same set of questions regarding plastic being porous to gluten. I just don't know how this works, not at a level that can help me figure out other issues re: the same topic.

Any links anyone might have to how this works would be wonderful! I'm just realizing I have a whole bundle of ignorance on this topic that I'd rather not have.

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I do not have much knowledge on this either, and I would certainly love to understand it more. When I was looking up Mount Gay rum, I was surprised to see that they age their rum in previously used for bourbon wood barrels.

From their website:


This subtle note graces all Mount Gay rums due to very special ageing in Kentucky white oak barrels that previously contained bourbon. The result is a perfect harmony of coffee and chocolate aromas."

Now, bourbon is considered a corn whiskey, but apparently the grain mix just needs to be 51% corn according to wiki. And there is apparently transfer on some level via the wood barrels, but I don't know if any studies have been done on what all is being transferred. I don't know anything about cleaning allergens from wood.

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