An experimental method to simulate incipient decay of wood by basidiomycete fungi
S F Curling, J E Winandy, C A Clausen
At very early stages of decay of wood by basidiomycete fungi, strength loss can be measured from wood before any measurable weight loss. Therefore, strength loss is a more efficient measure of incipient decay than weight loss. However, common standard decay tests (e.g. EN 113 or ASTM D2017) use weight loss as the measure of decay. A method was developed that allowed progressive removal of samples so that all stages of colonisation and decay could be monitored by strength testing, weight loss determination and chemical analysis. Our results indicated that substantial and rapid decay (90% strength loss and 40% weight loss after 12 weeks) of southern pine by brown rot fungi was possible using the method. Our results also demonstrate a direct relationship between strength loss and weight loss and suggest a quantitative relationship between strength loss and chemical composition (hemicellulose sugars) during incipient decay of southern pine by basidiomycete fungi.
Keywords: INCIPIENT DECAY; TEST METHOD; STRENGTH TESTING; CHEMICAL COMPOSITION