Role of cell wall specific moisture content on the brown-rot fungal attack on wood

IRG/WP 16-40736

R M Rowell

Wood is a hydroscopic resource because the cell wall polymers contain hydroxyl and other oxygen-containing groups that attract moisture through hydrogen bonding. Moisture content varies with changing moisture content in its environment. The moisture content in wood is responsible for many of the performance properties we observe. The strength properties of wood are dependent on the moisture content as does dimensional stability and attack by microorganisms. We know that brown-rot fungi does not attack dry wood. We also know that as the moisture content approaches the fiber saturation point, the wood becomes susceptible to attack by brown-rot fungi. Exactly how much moisture is required and where that moisture is located in the cell wall is the subject of this paper. This paper will take a theoretical look at the role of moisture in the brown-rot decay mechanism on acetylated wood.

Keywords: moisture, decay, acetylation, mechanism, equilibrium moisture content, specific moisture content

Conference: 16-05-15/19 Lisbon, Portugal

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