Lodgepole pine decay when inoculated with white rot and brown rot fungi in a competing modified decay jar test Yip Tu, Manuel
Wood preservation experts often perform monoculture fungal decay tests to determine the decay resistance of wood-based materials and the effectiveness of preservative treatments under controlled laboratory and field conditions. In nature, however, wood is rarely colonized by a single fungal species. In a single cubic cm of forest soil, there may be hundreds of species of fungi that interact with each other and can compete for the same space and resources. Similarly, living, dying or dead trees often contain a variety of decay fungi. Factors affecting fungal colonization of wood and the rate of decay include the presence of other interacting fungi, the heterogeneity of the wood, and environmental conditions. In this study, we analyze fungal growth and wood decay rates for single fungi and for pairs of fungi in controlled lab conditions. We selected fungi that cause the two major types of decay: the white rot fungus Trichaptum abietinum that degrades carbohydrates and lignin, and the brown rot fungus Fomitopsis pinicola that degrades only carbohydrates but not lignin. The decay substrate was lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) wood, a non-durable species native to western North America. In this work we report antagonistic reactions between pairs of fungi in artificial media, as well as the decay ability of single fungi and pairs of fungi by using a modified soil block decay test, to gain insight into how fungi may behave in natural environments.
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