Effect of Gamma Radiation, Wet-Heat, and Ethylene Oxide Sterilization of Wood on its Subsequent Decay by Four Wood-Destroying Fungi


  • Roger S. Smith
  • Christine V. Sharman


The effects of gamma radiation, wet-heat, and ethylene oxide sterilization of red alder and ponderosa pine sapwood blocks on their subsequent decay by Coniophora puteana, Poria monticola, Polyporus versicolor, and Poria weirii were investigated.

After three months of decay, the mean weight losses of blocks sterilized by (1) an irradiation dosage of 2.5 X 106 and 5.0 X 106 rads, (2) wet-heat, and (3) ethylene oxide were not significantly different at the 5% level, with the exception of irradiated alder decayed by C. puteana. A radiation dosage of 107 rads caused a significant increase in decay of blocks of both wood species inoculated with Poria weirii.

Two direct effects of gamma radiation on wood occurred during the tests: (1) a small, but significant, decrease in the weight of wood substance, and (2) nonuniform moisture absorption by the wood.


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