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Mode of action of brown rot decay resistance in phenol-formaldehyde-modified wood: resistance to Fenton’s reagent

  • Reza Hosseinpourpia and Carsten Mai EMAIL logo
From the journal Holzforschung


The mode of action of phenol-formaldehyde (PF)-modified wood has been investigated with respect to its resistance to brown rot decay. The Fenton reaction is assumed to play a key role in the initial brown rot decay. Pine microveneers were modified to various weight percent gains (WPG) with low molecular weight PF and exposed to a solution containing Fenton’s reagent. The mass loss (ML) and tensile strength loss (TSL) as well as the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide within the incubation time decreased with the increasing WPG of the veneers. Incubation of untreated and PF-modified veneers in acetate buffer containing ferric ions without H2O2 revealed that the modification strongly reduces the uptake of iron by the wood cell wall. Further studies indicated that lignin promotes the decay of wood by Fenton’s reagent. The reason for the enhanced resistance of modified wood to the Fenton reaction is attributable to the impeded diffusion of iron ions into the cell wall rather than to the blocking of free phenolic sites of lignin, which accelerate redox cycling of iron.

Corresponding author: Carsten Mai, Wood Biology and Wood Products, Burckhardt Institute, Georg-August-University Göttingen, Büsgenweg 4, 37077 Göttingen, Germany, Tel.: +49-551-3919807, Fax: +49-551-399646, e-mail:


The authors would like to thank the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for financial support.


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Received: 2015-2-16
Accepted: 2015-6-3
Published Online: 2015-6-27
Published in Print: 2016-3-1

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