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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


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Requested Product

Title: Effect of Brown-Rot Fungi on Cellulose


Author(s)Highley, T.L.; Kirk, T.K.; Ibach, R.

Publication Year: 1989  View PDF »

Category: Journal Articles

Abstract: Brown-rot fungi cause the most destructive form of wood decay. These fungi secrete agents that bring about a rapid depolymerization of cellulose (to the " limit" degree of polymerization [DP]) before significant loss of wood substance occurs; in both cases attack initially is in the amorphous regions. Acid hydrolysis has a similar effect on cellulose as do several oxidants. How brown-rot fungi accomplish this feat is a perplexing biochemical question. Enzyme preparations from many brown-rot fungi can significantly degrade only cellulose that has been modified. such as carboxymethylcellulose (Highley, 1973. 1977a). Most likely the system producing the initial depolymerization of cellulose i s nonenzymatic because even the smallest enzymes are far too large to penetrate the intersticies of the amorphous regions. Secretion of acids strong enough to hydrolyze the cellulose is unlikely. Cowling and Brown (1969) suggested that an oxidative system employing Fenton's reagent (Fe+2+H2O2), which generates hydroxyl radical might be used by brown-rot fungi. Later Koenigs demonstrated that cellulose in wood is depolymerized by Fenton's reagent. Support for an oxidative system was provided by Highley (1977b) who obtained evidence that brown-rotted cellulose contains carbonyl and carboxyl groups.

Keywords: biodeterioration, Brown-rot, cellulose

Publication Review Process: Non-Refereed (Other)

File size: 221 kb(s)

Date posted: 08/27/2012
RITS Product ID: 60945
Current FPL Scientist associated with this product
Ibach, Rebecca E.
Research Chemist

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