The influence of wood moisture content on the fungitoxicity of methylisothiocyanate in Douglas fir heartwood
A R Zahora, J J Morrell
The fumigant methylisothiocyanate (MIT) effectively controls decay fungi in large wood structures, but the influence of environmental factors on its performance are not well understood. Experiments found wood moisture content to greatly influence the fungitoxicity and sorption of MIT in Douglas fir heartwood. At constant, low MIT vapor concentrations (less than 1 µg/cc air), wood at 10% MC bound 5 times more MIT, but required 4 times the exposure period to control the decay fungus Poria carbonica, than similarly treated wood above the fiber saturation point. Sorption of MIT to wood was strongly influenced by wood moisture content, but was not substantially influenced by the amount of wood decay. Increasing wood moisture content from 10% to 30% during fumigation resulted in a rapid volatilization of previously bound MIT and a dramatic increase in fumigant fungitoxicity. The increased fungitoxicity of MIT in wet wood may help explain why Vapam (a 32% solution of sodium N-methyldithiocarbamate in water), which decomposes to produce MIT, has performed well as a wood fumigant.