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Official Journal of the Japan Wood Research Society

Microscopic observation of wood-based composites exposed to fungal deterioration


This study was conducted to investigate the susceptibility of various wood composite panels exposed to wood-deteriorating fungi. Five wood-attacking fungi (three mold fungi, one brown rot fungus, one white rot fungus) were inoculated into four types of commercial wood composite panels (plywood, oriented strand board, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard). One solid wood sample was included as a control. The attacking patterns of the fungi in each panel was observed by scanning electron microscopy. The weight losses due to the exposure were compared. All wood composites were more or less susceptible to all fungi inoculated. The attacking mode of the fungi was highly dependent on the types of wood composite, which had inherently different shapes of voids owing to different shapes and characteristics of the raw furnish materials used. Plywood and medium-density fiberboard showed a large weight loss after an 8-week exposure to decay fungi. Plywood is the most susceptible to white and brown rot fungi. This study indicates that all wood composite panels should undergo careful consideration to prevent fungal deterioration when they are used for exterior and humid interior applications.


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Chung, WY., Wi, SG., Bae, HJ. et al. Microscopic observation of wood-based composites exposed to fungal deterioration. J Wood Sci 45, 64–68 (1999).

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Key words

  • Wood composite
  • Medium-density fiberboard
  • Oriented strand board
  • Plywood
  • Particleboard
  • Fungi: mold, brown rot, white rot