The dry rot fungus, Serpula lacrymans, is one of the most destructive copper-tolerant fungi causing timber decay in buildings in temperate regions. Calcium and oxalic acid have been shown to play important roles in the mechanism of wood decay. The effect of calcium on growth and decay was evaluated for 12 strains of S. lacrymans and compared to five brown-rot fungi. This was done by treating copper citrate (CC)-treated Southern yellow pine (SYP) wood with a CaCl2 solution and estimating the decay rate and amount of soluble oxalic acid in an ASTM soil block test. Decay by S. lacrymans was found to be significantly inhibited by treatment with CaCl2 in the presence of copper. In addition, calcium showed no effect on two strains of S. lacrymans and one Serpula himantioides strain in non-copper- treated SYP wood blocks. The growth rate of S. lacrymans was not affected on malt extract agar containing CaCl2. In summary, a marked decrease was observed in the decay capacity of S. lacrymans in pine treated with CCqCaCl2. The amount of soluble oxalic acid was measured in CC-treated blocks and blocks also treated with CaCl2. Of the comparative brown-rot fungi, both Antrodia vaillantii (TFFH 294) and Postia placenta (Mad 698) displayed notable wood decay despite CaCl2 treatment, while the remaining strains were inhibited.
Hastrup, Anne Christine Steenkjaer; Jensen, Bo; Clausen, Carol; Green, Frederick. 2006. The effect of CaCl2 on growth rate, wood decay and oxalic acid accumulation in Serpula lacrymans and related brown-rot fungi. Holzforschung. Vol. 60 (2006): pages 339-345.