Fragrant Essential Oils Protect Wood

The aim of the research was to determine the efficacy, stability and minimum effective concentrations of 10 essential oils in the protection of beech wood against the wood-destroying fungi Coniophora puteana and Trametes versicolor and against the growth of the mouldsAspergillus niger and Penicillium brevicompactum. It has been shown that essential oils containing methyl salicylate and eugenol (birch, cloves) were also effective, cloves especially against brown rot caused by Coniophora puteana. The greatest efficacy against white rot from all tested oils was found in sweet flag containing the substance cis-isoasarol trimethyleter. On the other hand, sage, lavender and tea tree oil, which do not contain the above active substances, showed low or no efficacy.

Additional analysis of the colour of the wood after application of essential oils has shown that treated wood significantly changes colour depending on the original colour of the oil, however, the newly acquired colours are very stable even when exposed to the sun and water, and thus the negative effects of the coloration are minimal.

The use of the biocidal effect of health-friendly essential oils is expected mainly in interiors, for example against Coniophora puteana and the dangerous dry rot fungus (Serpula lacrymas), where the use of other health-hazardous products is inappropriate. The advantage of essential oils is primarily their renewable nature and a high level of health friendliness. The disadvantage is the high volatility of the essential oils and the variable concentration of the contained effective substances.

Ing. Miloš Pánek, Ph.D.

Pánek et al. (2014). “Ten Essential Oils for Beech Wood Protection - Efficacy Against Wood-destroing Fungi and Moulds, and Effect on Wood Discoloration,“ BioResources 9(3), 5588-5603.

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