Investigations into the biology of Meruliporia incrassata
J Jellison, C Howell, B Goodell, S L Quarles
The dry rot fungus Meruliporia incrassata (Berk. and Curt.) Murr. is a highly destructive brown rot wood decay fungus and is a significant pest of wooden structures. The fungus, know commonly as ‘Poria’, is characterized in culture by strand mycelium and skin-like surface mycelium. In structural environments it is found to produce prominent water conducting rhizomorphs, is a copious spore producer, and is an aggressive brown rot fungus in wood. This research focuses on the growth of M. incrassata in modified ASTM soil block jars and on the organism's ability to sequester calcium, iron, and other cations from the environment. Four field isolates of M. incrassata, as well as M. incrassata ATCC 11236, and the related dry rot fungus Serpula lacrymans ATCC 36335 were grown on spruce wood in modified ASTM soil block jars for 12 weeks (ASTM 1994). Blocks were dried, weighed, ground and analyzed by ICP (inductively coupled plasma spectroscopy). Weight loss and levels of Ca, K, and Fe were greater in spruce wood decayed by the four field isolates than in wood incubated with the other fungi or with no fungi. The variability in ability to decay wood has implications for standardized decay testing. Understanding the sequestration and role of cations by this highly aggressive dry rot may aid in the development of appropriate control measures.