Degradation of the normal fibre walls of rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis) by the tropical blue-stain fungus Botryodiplodia theobromae
A A H Wong, A P Singh
Rubberwood was examined by light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) after exposure to the common tropical sapstain fungus Botryodiplodia theobromae for four weeks to study hyphal colonisation of wood cells and to determine if this fungus also degraded lignified normal fibre cell walls in addition to the walls of non-lignified elements. Light microscopy revealed relatively large diameter hyphae to be abundantly present in parenchyma cells. The hyphae were also present in other types of wood cells, including fibres. TEM provided evidence of fibre wall degradation in the normal rubberwood in the form of lumen wall erosion (type-2 soft rot decay). These observations suggest that the ability of B. theobromae to degrade lignified wood cells walls should be viewed with concern when utilising rubberwood which has been severely sapstained, particularly after prolonged exposure to this fungus.