Abstract

Copper remains one of the key biocides for protecting timber in soil contact. Historically, copper-based preservatives relied on solubilized copper. Over the past decade, micronized copper systems have largely replaced soluble copper systems in this application. While micronized copper chemistries have been shown to perform well over time with reduced copper leaching compared to solubilized copper, data are lacking on the effects of repeated leaching cycles on resistance of the timber to fungal attack. The potential effects of repeated leaching cycles of micronized copper azole–treated southern pine (Pinus spp.) blocks on both copper losses and resistance to fungal attack were explored over 20 leaching cycles using Gloeophyllum trabeum and Rhodonia placenta as test fungi. Copper losses during leaching were elevated for the first two cycles and steadily declined with additional cycling. There were no noticeable differences in fungal-associated weight losses in blocks exposed to G. trabeum. There was only a slight increase in average block weight losses with R. placenta, although blocks exposed to this fungus experienced higher weight losses with increased leaching cycles. The results suggest that repeated leaching exposures may produce some localized increases in susceptibility to fungal attack, but the overall effects were minor.

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