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Fungal–copper interactions in wood examined with large field of view synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy

Zelinka, Samuel L., Jakes, Joseph E., Tang, Juliet, Ohno, Katie, Bishell, Amy, Finney, Lydia, Maxey, Evan R., Vogt, Stefan, Kirker, Grant T.
Wood material science and engineering 2019 v.14 no.3 pp. 174-184
X-radiation, X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy, calcium, copper, copper sulfate, culture media, decay fungi, engineering, fluorescence microscopy, fungal growth, iron, manganese, materials science, mycelium, potassium, toxicity, wood, wood preservatives, zinc
The goal of this study was to demonstrate how synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy (XFM) can be used to better understand the mechanisms of copper tolerance in wood decay fungi. Copper is a major component in commercial wood preservatives as it is toxic to many wood decay fungi. However, certain fungi are copper tolerant and can attack preservative-treated wood, resulting in structural damage to treated wood members. Here we used large-field XFM to visualize six different elements (K, Ca, Mn, Fe, Cu, and Zn) in the mycelia and wood inoculated with four different species of brown rot wood decay fungi. Wood blocks were partially dipped into a solution of copper sulfate, exposed to fungi in malt extract agar petri dish assays for nine weeks, and then imaged and compared to blocks that were partially dipped in water. The blocks were imaged immediately adjacent to an end-matched control that was placed in malt extract agar petri dish assays for 9 weeks, but not exposed to the fungi so that the differences in the elemental distributions could be directly compared. The colonized wood and mycelia were rich in K, Ca, Mn, and Fe; however, the elements and the spatial distribution in the mycelia and wood differed across fungal species. The most interesting results were the maps showing the copper distribution. While three of the four fungi grew on the copper-rich region of the wood, only one species, Fibroporia radiculosa, dramatically reduced the copper concentration in the region of fungal growth.