Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Decay and termite resistance of medium density fiberboard (MDF) made from different wood species


S. Nami Kartal



Publication type:

Miscellaneous Publication

Primary Station(s):

Forest Products Laboratory


International biodeterioration & biodegradation. Vol. 51 (2003): Pages 29-35


Medium density fiberboard (MDF) production worldwide is increasing due to the development of new manufacturing technologies. As a result, MDF products are increasingly utilized in traditional wood applications that require fungal and insect resistance. This study evaluated the ability of white and brown rot fungi and termites to decompose MDF consisting of different wood species by measuring weight loss. Furnish in the boards was prepared from heart and sapwood portions of pine (Pinus nigra Arnold var. pallasiana), beech (Fugus orientalis Lipsky), and European oak (Quercus robur L.) species. Fungal decay resistance tests were performed according to ASTM D 2017-81 standard method using two brown-rot fungi, Gloeophyllum trabeum (Pers. ex Fr.) Murr. (Mad 617), Postia placenta (Fries) M. Larsen et Lombard (Mad 698), and one white-rot fungus, Trametes versicolor (L. ex Ft.) Pilat (Mad 697). MDF and wood specimens were also bioassayed against the eastern subterranean termite, Reticulitermes flavipes (Kollar) in order to determine termite resistance of the specimens. MDF specimens containing oak and mixed furnish demonstrated increased durability against decay fungi. Only pine, oak, and mixed MDF specimens met the 25% or less weight loss limit to be classified resistant according to ASTM D 2017-81 standard method. Overall, MDF specimens made from oak showed better performance than oak solid wood specimens. Accelerated aging according to ASTM D 1037-96a standard method before fungal bioassay decreased fungal resistance of the specimens. In contrast to the fungal bioassay, MDF specimens made from beech and mixed furnish showed decreased weight losses from termite attack after 4 weeks. However, none of the MDF specimens were resistant to termite attack. In severe conditions, the MDFs may require the incorporation of chemical biocides prior to board production for increasing the resistance of MDF to termite attack.


Kartal, S. Nami; Green, Frederick. 2003. Decay and termite resistance of medium density fiberboard (MDF) made from different wood species. International biodeterioration & biodegradation. Vol. 51 (2003): Pages 29-35

Publication Notes

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.