Colonization of wood blocks by brown and white rot fungi rapidly resulted in detectable wood oxidation, as shown by a reduced phloroglucinol response, a loss of autofluorescence, and acridine orange (AO) staining. This last approach is shown to provide a novel method for identifying wood oxidation. When lignin was mildly oxidized, the association between AO and lignin was reduced such that stained wood sections emitted less green light during fluorescence microscopy. This change was detectable after less than a week, an interval that past work has shown to be too short for significant delignification of wood. Although fungal hyphae were observed in only a few wood lumina, oxidation was widespread, appearing relatively uniform over regions several hundred micrometers from the hyphae. This observation suggests that both classes of fungi release low molecular weight mild oxidants during the first few days of colonization.
Houtman, Carl J.; Kitin, Peter; Houtman, Jon C. D.; Hammel, Kenneth E.; Hunt, Christopher G. 2016. Acridine orange indicates early oxidation of wood cell walls by fungi. PLOS ONE. 11(7). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159715 19 p.