The decay resistance of chemically modified aspen composites to the white rot fungus Coriolus versicolor (L.) Quelet
M C Timar, A J Pitman, M D Mihai
Chemical modification of Aspen wood (Populus tremula L.) in the form of solid wood, veneers and sawdust was undertaken by a two step procedure consisting of esterification with maleic anhydride (MA) and subsequent oligoesterification with MA and glycidyl methacrylate (GMA) or allyl glycidyl ether (AGE). Modified wood was thermoplastic and was thermally formed by hot-pressing to produce veneer or solid wood samples with smooth glossy surfaces, while plastic-like wafers were obtained by hotpressing modified sawdust. Chemical modification alone was shown to enhance the biological resistance of Aspen to decay by Coriolus versicolor. In addition, hot-pressing enhanced decay resistance of both unmodified wood and esterified wood veneer samples, although no improvement was found by hot pressing oligoesterified wood. The most effective treatment for the improvement of decay resistance was chemical modification of the sawdust in conjunction with hot-pressing. A microscopic examination of chemically modified and control samples following exposure to the fungus showed more extensive colonisation and decay in untreated, unpressed samples.