Analysis of Fungi in Wood Chip Storage Piles

Jozef Suchomel, Katarína Belanová, Miloš Gejdoš, Miroslav Němec, Anna Danihelová, Zuzana Mašková


There are health and safety risks involved in the production and storage of forest biomass. Fungi that are formed in the stored piles of wood chips pose a high potential risk for human health. Three experimental piles, containing wood chips from three species of trees, were created. They included European beech (Fagus sylvatica), common aspen (Populus tremula), and European spruce (Picea abies). The piles created were in the shape of a pyramid with the base measuring 4 m x 4 m. In each pyramid, 3 points of measurements were established at 0.5 m, 1.0 m, and 1.5 m above the ground. Temperature, relative moisture, and the number of microscopic fungi colonies were monitored at each point of measurement in the period between 13th December 2011 and 6th June 2012. The highest relative moisture content was recorded in the pile with the European spruce. The aim of the experiment was to identify the genus and species of fungi that are formed in the chip piles during long-term storage and which pose a potential risk for human health. In total, 5 species and 8 genera of fungi were identified in the collected samples, whereby there was significant growth only during the first 4 to 6 months of storage.


Wood chips; Moisture content; Fungal activity; Storage; Biomass

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