Nowadays, there is a growing interest in extending the service life of wood and wood products by applying natural substances that are harmless to humans and the environment. In this paper, propolis was used as an eco-friendly wood preservative. The aim of this study was to determine the resistance of Scots pine wood treated with the propolis extract against brown-rot fungus Coniophora puteana
. The wood biodegradation was assessed by gravimetric method, as well as by the analysis of ergosterol concentration in decayed wood and by the determination of changes in the wood structure by means of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The results indicated that the impregnation of wood with propolis extract above 12% concentration limited fungal decay. The mass loss of wood treated with 18.9% propolis extract was 2.3% and was over 21 times lower than that for untreated wood. The analysis of ergosterol content and the changes in wood structure also confirmed that the propolis extract above 12% concentration protected wood against decay caused by C. puteana
. Moreover, the propolis extract used in wood impregnation was rich in phenolic compounds, mainly chrysin, pinocembrin and galangin, which possess antimicrobial activity. The obtained results indicate that the extract of Polish propolis can be a promising natural wood preservative, safe for humans and the natural environment.
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