Institute of Chemical Engineering
> Zum Inhalt

Biotechnology for Wood and Forest Industry

Emission control:

Autooxidation is a major source of volatile organic compounds (VOC) from wood composites. These autooxidation processes may continue in the final wood based products resulting in the emission of these volatiles giving rise to health problems. The aim of this work is to evaluate if these unwanted oxidation processes can be controlled by treatment with appropriate degradative agents. Possible agents are enzymes such as laccase or lipoxygenase, as well as alternative biomimetic und physico-chemical agents or treatments such as Cu/Fe salts, ozone, hydrothermical treatment, and UV-A/B. These treatments are expected to specifically reduce the emission of hexanal and pentanal in the final product via fatty acid peroxidation. Alternatively, VOC precursors may be metabolized by fungi or bacteria that grow on wood, so that they are no longer available for troublesome autooxidation processes. Microorganisms will also be used as functional model systems for developing new biological VOC degradation strategies.

Biocontrol (a method based on antagonism):

Stain control - blue stain of pine wood caused by the ascomycete Sphaeropsis sapinea lowers wood quality and, therefore, freshly cut black pine logs in the forest are treated with antagonistic fungi under non-sterile conditions to prevented blue stain.
Root rot control - infestation of freshly cut spruce trees by the pathogen Heterobasidium annosum (basidiomycete) causes root rot of living trees and, therefore, stumps are treated manually or by harvester with the commercial biocontrol preparation „Rotex“ (Phlebiopsis gigantea) to reduce infestation.
Plant vitality improvement - growth of conifers such as black pine or nordmann fir can be impared by pathogen infestation. Application of the biocontrol fungus T. harzianum may therefore improve plant vitality. This is investigated by evaluating plant growth parameters such as root collar, dry weight, and height of plants.

The following sketches illustrate the methods and tasks of the project:

Scientific partners:

  • Competence Centre for Wood Composites and Wood Chemistry, WOOD Kplus, Linz, Austria (
  • University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences - Boku, Department of Material Sciences and Process Engineering, Vienna, Austria (

Industrial Partner:

Fritz Egger GmbH, St. Johann (


Leader and Contact:

Dr.techn. Cornelia Rieder-Gradinger



Ao.Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Ewald Srebotnik