Friendly fungus

MANY of the chemicals traditionally used as wood preservatives are now known to cause environmental damage when the wood is discarded. Some chemical preservatives have been restricted and total bans are possible in the future.

A collaborative European project involving groups of scientists in Britain, the Netherlands, Finland and Germany is testing new preservatives and looking for safe methods of disposing of treated wood. They have identified a fungus that feeds on wood waste, breaking down the preservatives.