Canadian Biomass Magazine

Wood Rot fungus can digest biomass

May 16, 2012
By EMSL Analytical Inc.

May 16, 2012, Cinnaminson, NJ - Scientists from the Energy Department’s Joint Genome Institute have been studying fungi that are able to break down plant biomass.

May 16, 2012, Cinnaminson, NJ – Scientists from the Energy Department’s Joint Genome Institute have been studying Phanaerochaete chrysosporium and Ceriporiopisis subvermispora for their ability to break down biomass.  The fungi are able to break down cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin from plants. 

These fungi are of particular interest to the scientists as a possible source for enzymes used in the production of biofuels. 
These and other wood rot fungi are also of interest to building science
consultants as wood rot fungi can cause extensive damage to properties
across the nation.

Wood-decay fungi are typically classified into one of three groups. 
Brown, soft and white rot fungi each work in unique ways.  Brown rot
fungi break down the hemicelluloses and cellulose, soft rot fungi
secrete an enzyme that breaks down cellulose and white rot fungi break
down the lignin. 

Scientists at EMSL Analytical have been studying wood rot fungi for
years.  Just last year they presented their findings about wood rot
fungi at the prestigious American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Expo (AIHce).

“Wood rot and damage to structural elements in buildings is an
enormous cost to society,” reported Joe Frasca, Senior Vice President,
Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “At times, damage due to wood rot
fungi can be misinterpreted as damage caused by wood destroying
insects.  Understanding the cause and source of wood rot allows for
corrective actions to be implemented.  Preventing and controlling their
growth is a crucial task to preventing possible structural damage to a
building.  At EMSL, our scientists utilize the latest DNA
testing technologies to quickly and accurately identify wood rot fungi
and determine what types are present.  This information allows for the
best treatment to be selected to prevent additional damage from
occurring,” he continued.

To learn more about testing for wood rot fungi or other environmental issues, please visit or email

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.

EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused
provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to
professionals and the general public.  The company has an extensive
list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and
federal regulating bodies.

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