ERE 770 Biodegradation of Wood

Spring semester, 2004

3 credits

Instructor: Dr. Susan Anagnost


M/W/F: 9:35 to 10:30                                                                  Room 184 Baker Laboratory

Requirements: four hourly examinations (15% each), Final Examination (20%), report on assigned papers including 10 minute presentations (10%), lab report (10%)

Textbooks:      Wood Microbiology by R.A. Zabel and J.J. Morrell

                        Optional: Fungi in Utility Poles by C.J.K. Wang and R.A. Zabel




DATE                                     TOPIC                                                                        READING ASSIGNMENT


Monday, January 12         Introduction                                                                    Chap. 1, p. 3-15; Chap. 2, p. 22-28


Wednesday, January 14     Fundamental Mycology                                                    Chap. 3, p. 52-73


Friday, January 16           Fundamental Mycology - Taxonomy                                   Chap. 3, p. 73-89


Monday, January 19         NO CLASS-HOLIDAY                                     


Wednesday, January 21     Fundamental Mycology


Friday, January 23           Mycology-Taxonomy


Monday, January 26         Mycology-Physiology and Growth of Fungi


Wednesday, January 28     Wood Anatomy, Chemistry and Ultrastructure                      Chap. 6, p 136-158

                                    Wood-Moisture Relations, Colonization and Infection


Friday, January 30           Wood decay testing methods

and culturing techniques                                                   Chap. 6, p. 158-166, Chap.4, p. 90-


Monday, February 2         Wood decay test set up (lab demonstration)


Wednesday, February 4     Wood decay test set up(lab demonstration)                           Chap. 10, p. 248-250


Friday, February 6           EXAM 1          


Monday, February 9         Basidiomycete decay of wood, brown rot                             Chap. 7, p. 168-191


Wednesday, February 11   Basidiomycete decay of wood, white rot                              Chap. 9, p. 225-240


Friday, February 13         Microfungi and soft rot of wood                                         handout


Monday, February 16       Chemistry and Biochemistry of Wood Decay                        Chap. 8, p. 196-219


Wednesday, February 18   Chemistry and Biochemistry of Wood Decay                        handout


Friday, February 20         Fungi and wood discoloration                                            Chap. 14, p. 326-339


Monday, February 23       Lab—Cultural characteristics of Fungi                                            


Wednesday, February 25   Bacteria and Wood


Friday, February 27         EXAM 2


Monday, March 1            Effects of Decay on Mechanical                                          Chap. 10, p. 249-261

and Physical Properties of Wood


Wednesday March 3         Incidence of Decay in Wood Products                                  Chap. 11, p. 266-276

                                                                                                                        Chap. 13, p. 307-321

                                                                                                                        Chap. 15, p. 345-361

Friday, March 5              Incidence of Decay in Wood Products


Spring Break


Monday, March 15          Decay Detection and Evaluation in Wood Products                Chap. 16, p. 365-378                                                                  


Wednesday, March 17      Decay Detection and Evaluation in Wood Products                Chap. 16, p. 365-378


Friday, March 19             Microscopic Examination of Wood Decay, (lab demonstration)


Monday, March 22          Wood Preservation: Natural Durability                                Chap. 18, p. 400-409


Wednesday, March 24      Wood Preservation: Preservative Chemicals,

Biocontrol, Physical Barriers, Preventive Practices                Chap. 19, p. 412-436

Friday, March 26             Molds and Building Materials      


Monday, March 29          Molds in Indoor environments


Wednesday, March 31      Molds and air quality


Friday, April 2                Decay Test Harvest (lab demonstration)                  


Monday, April 5             Weigh, Measure and Examine Blocks (lab demonstration)


Wednesday, April 7         EXAM 3


Friday, April 9                NO CLASS—Easter Break


Monday, April 12            Industrial Applications of Decay Fungi – Biopulping,                        Chap. 20, p. 446-453



Wednesday, April 14        Insects and Wood                                                            Chap. 2, p.29-45


Friday, April 16              Termites           


Monday, April 19            Other Biological attack on wood (invertebrates and vertebrates)


Wednesday, April 21        Current Topics in Wood Decay Research*   

Lab Report Due


Friday, April 23              Current topics in wood decay research


Monday, April 26            EXAM 4


Laboratory Report


1.     Describe the weight loss test set up procedure.

2.     List the name of your fungus and the type of decay it causes.

3.     Make a record of your blocks including:

pre-decay weight

pre-decay dimensions

post-decay weight

post-decay dimensions

4.     Describe the condition of the blocks after decay.

5.     Calculate the weight loss (%) for every block, then determine the average weight loss for each fungus and wood type. Also determine the weight loss of the control blocks. There should be 8 average weight losses.

6.     Calculate the dimensional change (%).

ERE 796





Twice during the semester, each student will prepare a review of a journal article assigned to them. The review will consist of a written report and short presentation. The written review should consist of a

1 page summary of the contents of the article, and a critique of the article. The review should include significant points, methods used, and a critical discussion of the validity of the results. The presentation should be about 10 minutes in length. This will be followed by a short class discussion of the article.