Annals of Forest Science

, Volume 65, Issue 6, pp 610–610 | Cite as

The effect of brown-rot decay on water adsorption and chemical composition of Scots pine heartwood

  • Outi Karppanen
  • Martti VenäläinenEmail author
  • Anni M. Harju
  • Tapio Laakso
Original Article


  • • The effect of brown-rot (Coniophora puteana) decay on the water adsorption capacity and concentration of extractives of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) heartwood were studied by comparing corresponding properties of decayed and undecayed wood samples.

  • • The samples derived from 39 felled trees having a large between-tree variation in the extractive concentrations, and subsequently in the mass loss in the decay test. The water adsorption capacity, expressed as equilibrium moisture content (EMC), was measured at a high relative humidity (RH ∼100%, 21 °C).

  • • In contrast to the widely held belief, the water adsorption capacity of brow-rotted heartwood appeared to be significantly higher than that of undecayed heartwood.

  • • The chemical composition of heartwood was changed radically by the fungus: the concentration of stilbenes, resin acids and free fatty acids decreased, while the concentration of soluble sugars increased as a result of decay. In addition, fungal sugars were found in the decayed samples. The concentration of total phenolics increased, which obviously reflected chemical changes in cell wall constituents other than extractives.

  • • As a conclusion, the information concerning the hygroscopicity of brown-rotted wood might be valuable e.g. when carrying out repairs on buildings damaged by advanced decay.

brown-rot decay extractives Scots pine heartwood mass loss moisture content 

Effet des pourritures brunes sur l’adsorption de l’eau et la composition chimique du bois de Coeur du pin sylvestre


  • • Nous avons étudié l’effet de la présence de pourriture brune (Coniophora puteana) sur la capacité d’adsorption de l’eau et sur la concentration d’extractibles du bois de cœur du pin sylvestre (Pinus sylvestris L.) en comparant des échantillons contaminés et sains obtenus pour 39 arbres échantillonnés.

  • • Dans les essais de décomposition, on obtient une grande variation entre arbres de la concentration en extractibles et de la perte de masse. La capacité d’adsorption de l’eau, exprimée comme l’humidité d’équilibre, a été mesurée à une humidité relative de 100 % à 21 °C.

  • • Contrairement à ce qui était attendu, la décomposition augmente la capacité d’adsorption de l’eau du bois de cœur en atmosphère très humide. La différence entre arbres des variations de l’humidité d’équilibre (décomposé-contrôle) augmente significativement avec l’augmentation de la perte de masse.

  • • La composition chimique du bois de cœur est radicalement modifiée par le champignon : la concentration de stilbènes, de résines acides et d’acides gras libres décroît tandis que la concentration de sucres solubles augmente, cela résultant de la décomposition. La concentration de composés phénoliques totaux, mesurée par le test de décomposition de Folin-Ciocalteu, augmente. De plus des sucres fongiques dérivant des hyphes de C. puteana ont été retrouvés dans les échantillons décomposés.

  • • En conclusion, les informations concernant l’hygroscopicité du bois brun pourraient être utiles par exemple au moment de procéder à la réparation de bâtiments endommagés par une dégradation avancée.

pourriture brune extractibles perte de masse teneur en eau humidité relative 


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Copyright information

© Springer S+B Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Outi Karppanen
    • 1
  • Martti Venäläinen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anni M. Harju
    • 1
  • Tapio Laakso
    • 2
  1. 1.Punkaharju Research UnitFinnish Forest Research InstitutePunkaharjuFinland
  2. 2.Vantaa Research UnitFinnish Forest Research InstituteVantaaFinland

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