Elucidating wood decomposition by four species of Ganoderma from the United States

Andrew L. Loyd, Benjamin W. Held, Eric R. Linder, Jason A. Smith, Robert A. Blanchette

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The laccate (shiny or varnished) Ganoderma contain fungi that are important wood decay fungi of living trees and decomposers of woody debris. They are also an important group of fungi for their degradative enzymes and bioprocessing potential. Laboratory decay microcosms (LDMs) were used to study the relative decay ability of G anoderma curtisii, Ganoderma meredithiae, Ganoderma sessile, and G anoderma zonatum, which are four commonly encountered Ganoderma species in the U.S., across four wood types (Pinus taeda, Quercus nigra, Q uercus virginiana, and Sabal palmetto). Generally, all Ganoderma species were able to decay all types of wood tested despite not being associated with only certain wood types in nature. G. sessile, on average caused the most decay across all wood types. Among the wood types tested, water oak (Q. nigra) had the most mass loss by all species of Ganoderma. Scanning electron microscopy was used to assess micromorphological decay patterns across all treatments. All Ganoderma species simultaneously decayed wood cells of all wood types demonstrating their ability to attack all cell wall components. However, G. zonatum caused selective delignification in some sclerenchyma fibers of the vascular bundles in palm (S. palmetto) as well as in fibers of water oak. In addition, G. zonatum hyphae penetrated fibers of palm and oak wood causing an unusual decay not often observed in basidiomycetes resulting in cavity formation in secondary walls. Cavities within the secondary walls of fibers gradually expanded and coalesced resulting in degradation of the S2 layer. Differences in colony growth rates were observed when Ganoderma species were grown on medium amended with water soluble sapwood extracts from each wood type. G. meredithiae had enhanced growth on all media amended with sapwood extracts, while G. curtisii, G. sessile and G. zonatum had slower growth on loblolly pine extract amended medium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-263
Number of pages10
JournalFungal Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the F.A. Bartlett Tree Experts company and the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Florida Chapter Research Grant , and the authors are greatly appreciative. We are also grateful to Elden LeBrun, Monica Elliott, and Tim Broschat for assistance in preparing wooden blocks for this study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 British Mycological Society


  • Basidiomycota
  • Biodegradation
  • Ganoderma
  • Quercus
  • Sabal
  • Wood decay


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