diffuse reflectance infrared spectroscopy (DRIFT) and elemental analysis were employed to monitor biodegradation of black gum wood (Nyssa sylvatica) during growth of the shiitake mushroom (Lentinula
edodes). Black gum was decayed for up to 4.3 years by L. edodes, during which time it was sampled at 19, 31, and 52 months. Biodegraded woods displayed increased % O (w/w) and decreased % C (w/w)
relative to the undecayed control. The DRIFT spectra of decayed black gum showed a decrease in relative intensity of absorption bands at 1735 cm-1 assigned to carboxyl functional groups from
xylans and an increase in the absorption band at 1640 cm-1 assigned to conjugated carbonyl groups originating from lignin. Xylan decay was rapid initially but slowed after 19 months; however,
oxidative decay of the lignin side chains occurred throughout the 52-month decay period. Overall elemental and DRIFT data show that both polysaccharides and lignin were decayed during cultivation of the
edible white-rot fungus.
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