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Wood Research and Technology


Cellulose – Hemicelluloses – Lignin – Wood Extractives

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Changes in sorption and electrical properties of wood caused by fungal decay

Christian Brischke
  • Corresponding author
  • University of Goettingen, Wood Biology and Wood Products, Buesgenweg 4, D-37077 Goettingen, Germany
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Simon Stricker
  • Leibniz University Hannover, Faculty of Architecture and Landscape Sciences, Herrenhauser Strasse 8, D-30419 Hannover, Germany
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/ Linda Meyer-Veltrup
  • Heinz-Piest-Institute for Craftsmen Techniques, Wilhelm-Busch-Strasse 18, D-30167 Hannover, Germany
  • Other articles by this author:
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/ Lukas Emmerich
  • University of Goettingen, Wood Biology and Wood Products, Buesgenweg 4, D-37077 Goettingen, Germany
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Published Online: 2018-12-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hf-2018-0171


As wet wood is prone to degradation by wood-destroying fungi, the monitoring of the moisture content (MC) of wood can be used to quantify the risk of fungal infestation. Fungal decay alters the sorption and electrical conductivity of wood, and thus the goal of the present study was to measure the electrical resistance (R) of wood after fungal decay as a function of MC. Scots pine sapwood (Pinus sylvestris L.) and European beech wood (Fagus sylvatica L.) were submitted to decay by Coniophora puteana (a brown rot fungus, BR) and Trametes versicolor (a white rot fungus, WR) and the mass loss (ML) due to the fungal metabolism was measured. The sorption isotherms were determined by dynamic vapor sorption (DVS), and comparative gravimetric- and R-based MC measurements were conducted. BR and WR reduced the sorption of wood and lowered its R in the hygroscopic range, where the decay led to an overestimation of wood MC, while wood MC was dramatically underestimated above fiber saturation (FS). Specimens showed an MC well above FS if measured directly after harvesting and an increased R compared to undecayed wood at a given MC. BR-decayed specimens were dried and rewetted, and such specimens showed an elevated R beyond FS. In the case of WR-decayed wood, the R was reduced at a given MC.

Keywords: adsorption; brown rot; conductivity; desorption; dynamic vapor sorption (DVS); electrical resistance; fungal decay; hysteresis; moisture monitoring; sorption; white rot; wood moisture content measurements


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About the article

Received: 2018-07-31

Accepted: 2018-11-27

Published Online: 2018-12-25

Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission.

Research funding: None declared.

Employment or leadership: None declared.

Honorarium: None declared.

Citation Information: Holzforschung, 20180171, ISSN (Online) 1437-434X, ISSN (Print) 0018-3830, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/hf-2018-0171.

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