Visualization of the structural changes in plywood and gypsum board during the growth of Chaetomium globosum and Stachybotrys chartarum

Anna Malgorzata Lewinska, Jakob Blæsbjerg Hoof, Ruut H. Peuhkuri, Carsten Rode, Osu Lilje, Matthew Foley, Patrick Trimby, Birgitte Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Fungal growth in indoor environments is associated with many negative health effects. Many studies focus on brown- and white-rot fungi and their effect on wood, but there is none that reveals the influence of soft-rot fungi, such as Stachybotrys spp. and Chaetomium spp., on the structure of building materials such as plywood and gypsum wallboard. This study focuses on using micro-computed tomography (microCT) to investigate changes of the structure of plywood and gypsum wallboard during fungal degradation by S. chartarum and C. globosum. Changes in the materials as a result of dampness and fungal growth were determined by measuring porosity and pore shape via microCT. The results show that the composition of the building material influenced the level of penetration by fungi as shown by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Plywood appeared to be the most affected, with the penetration of moisture and fungi throughout the whole thickness of the sample. Conversely, fungi grew only on the top cardboard in the gypsum wallboard and they did not have significant influence on the gypsum wallboard structure. The majority of the observed changes in gypsum wallboard occurred due to moisture. This paper suggests that the mycelium distribution within building materials and the structural changes, caused by dampness and fungal growth, depend on the type of the material.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Microbiological Methods
Pages (from-to)28-38
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Fungal growth
  • Indoor fungi
  • Micro-computed tomography
  • Plywood
  • Porosity
  • SEM
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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