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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 27, 2017

Effect of volatile organic compounds from Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies on Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium

  • Tiina Vainio-Kaila EMAIL logo , Tuomas Hänninen , Aino Kyyhkynen , Martin Ohlmeyer , Anja Siitonen and Lauri Rautkari
From the journal Holzforschung


Pine and spruce heartwood and sapwood were milled to wood particles and the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of the wood particles were tested against four bacterial strains. To study the influence of relative humidity on the antibacterial effect, both dry and wet wood particles were tested. Twenty microliters of the bacterial dilution with a concentration of 1.5×107 CFU ml−1 was cultured on glass surfaces in the presence of VOCs and the amount of viable bacteria was studied after 2, 4, and 24 h. The volatile emissions were evaluated by GC/MS and the results were compared with the results from the bacterial trial. VOCs had an antibacterial effect on Escherichia coli, Streptococcus pneumoniae and slightly on Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. But the effect on Staphylococcus aureus was minute even after 3 days’ incubation. The dry wood particles generally had a stronger antibacterial effect, though the amount of VOCs from the wet wood was higher. Pine heartwood had the strongest antibacterial effect and also the highest emissions of VOCs. However, the interaction between different bacterial strains and wood species shows some variations.


We would like to thank COST FP 1407 for funding the short-term scientific mission in Thünen Institute of Wood Research, Hamburg, Germany, to analyze the VOCs. We would also like to personally acknowledge Carmen Schunke, Jamina Wunderlich and Martina Müller-Zumbrägel from Thünen Institut for their kind help in the sampling process. Dr Halle Mehtälä is greatfully acknowledged for the help with English. Kemian tekniikan korkeakoulu, Aalto-yliopisto.


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The online version of this article (DOI: offers supplementary material, available to authorized users.

Received: 2017-1-14
Accepted: 2017-5-23
Published Online: 2017-6-27
Published in Print: 2017-10-26

©2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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