EWOC – Biosensor

EWoC biosensor:  Development of a new tool for the detection of Early Wood deCay.

PI : Cyril Bontemps (UMR 1128 ‘Dynamique des génomes et adaptation microbienne’)

Co-applicants : Arnaud Besserer (LERMAB), Philippe Gérardin (LERMAB), Pierre Leblond (Dynamic)


Context – Wood degradation is an important and complex ecological mechanism essential for the  health of individual trees as well as the forest, as well as for recycling carbon back into the soil . At the same time wood degradation poses a major socio-economic problem for actors in the wood industry as wood is increasingly used in construction. Biodegradation by microorganisms (fungi and bacteria) is generally considered to be the greatest threat for long-term wood preservation. Being able to detect and quickly assess the degree of wood degradation is an important challenge. The current standard of tests used in the wood industry, which rely on gauging loss of mass in a piece of wood following several weeks of biological degradation caused by microorganisms, are time consuming and non-specific . Knowledge of biological mechanisms and of wood biodegradation can be exploited to develop new tools.

Objective – We propose to develop biological tools to detect primary wood degradation. These tools will act as valuable alternatives to time-consuming metrological tools currently used in the field of wood preservation.

Approach – To use auxiliary microorganisms to the xylophages fungi during the wood degradation process.

Expected results and impacts – We anticipate that the proposed approach will provide new insight into wood degradation processes with impacts seen at the ecological level. We also expect biotechnological results by providing fast and efficient new tools for degradation assessment of processed and non-processed wood.