Abstract

X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and solid-state cross-polarization magic-angle-spinning (CP/MAS) <sup>13</sup>C-NMR spectroscopy were applied to determine changes over time in the morphology and crystallinity of lime wood (<i>Tilia cordata</i> Miller) generated by the soft-rot fungi. Wood samples were inoculated with <i>Trichoderma viride</i> Pers for various durations up to 84 days. Structural and morphological modifications were assessed by comparing the structural features of decayed lime wood samples with references. Significant morphology changes such as defibration or small cavities were clearly observed on the SEM micrographs of lime wood samples exposed to fungi. Following the deconvolution process of the diffraction patterns, the degree of crystallinity, apparent lateral crystallite size, the proportion of crystallite interior chains, and the cellulose fraction have been determined. It was found that all crystallographic data vary with the duration of exposure to fungi. The degree of crystallinity and cellulose fraction tend to decrease, whereas the apparent lateral crystallite size and the proportion of crystallite interior chains increase with prolonged biodegradation processes. The most relevant signals in CP/MAS <sup>13</sup>C-NMR spectra were assigned according to literature data. The differences observed were discussed in terms of lignin and cellulose composition: by fixing the lignin reference signal intensity, the cellulose and hemicelluloses moieties showed a relative decrease compared to the lignin signals in decayed wood.

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