Investigation of growth responses in saprophytic fungi to charred biomass.

Ascough PL, Sturrock CJ, Bird MI.

SUERC, Scottish Enterprise Technology Park, East Kilbride, UK.


We present the results of a study testing the response of two saprophytic white-rot fungi species, Pleurotus pulmonarius and Coriolus versicolor, to charred biomass (charcoal) as a growth substrate. We used a combination of optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, elemental abundance measurements, and isotope ratio mass spectrometry ((13)C and (15)N) to investigate fungal colonisation of control and incubated samples of Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) wood, and charcoal from the same species produced at 300 degrees C and 400 degrees C. Both species of fungi colonise the surface and interior of wood and charcoals over time periods of less than 70 days; however, distinctly different growth forms are evident between the exterior and interior of the charcoal substrate, with hyphal penetration concentrated along lines of structural weakness. Although the fungi were able to degrade and metabolise the pine wood, charcoal does not form a readily available source of fungal nutrients at least for these species under the conditions used in this study.

PMID: 20229385 [PubMed – in process]