Contributors: Alex Garcia-Putnam
Deterioration of wood by a fungus that causes weakening or disintegration of the wood’s structure.
Synonyms in English
Generally, dry rot refers to any deterioration of wood caused by fungi. It is often called brown rot, and effects terrestrial wood structures and archaeological specimens. The term dry rot, according to Britton (1875), in a critical first investigation of dry rot is “derived from the effect produced, and not from the cause”(Britton 1875). The fungus ingests the wood’s structural components, the cell walls, weakening and embrittling the wood (Blanchette 2000). Dry rot is a serious problem in ship timbers, historic structures, and other wooden archaeological features. The rot decreases the structural integrity of the wood, and thus the larger architectural structure. Serious dry rot can lead to almost complete disintegration of the wood.
Blanchette, R.A., 2000. “A Review of Microbial Deterioration Found in Archaeological Wood from Different Environments” in International Biodeterioration and Biodegeneration: 46(3), pp. 189-204
Britton, T.A., 1875. “A Treatise on the Origin, Progress, Prevention, and Cure of Dry Rot in Timber”. E. and F.N. Spon, London.