Bio-based wood preservatives: Their efficiency, leaching and ecotoxicity compared to a commercial wood preservative


Companies in the wood industry are constantly developing their outdoor products. The possibility of using bio-based chemicals as an alternative to traditional wood preservatives-regulated in Europe by The Biocidal Products Regulation No 528/2012-has been considered, but chemical leaching from the wood decreases its effectiveness and may negatively affect the environment. This study aims to compare the effectiveness of bio-based chemicals with potential use in wood preservation to commercially available preservatives, to investigate their fixation to wood and their ecotoxicity and to quantify the potentially toxic elements leached from the wood. Pyrolysis distillates of tree bark, organic acids found in distillates, Colatan GT10 tannin extract and log soaking liquid as a hardwood veneer process residue were tested and compared with commercial pine oil and a copper-based wood preservative. In the wood decay test of impregnated pine sapwood specimens, Colatan GT10 extract performed as well as the commercial wood preservatives. The same decay trial with leached specimens significantly reduced the performance of the bio-based chemicals. The results of the ecotoxicity test with photoluminescent Aliivibrio fischeri bacteria showed that many bio-based chemicals with potential use in wood preservation have markedly lower ecotoxicity than commercially available wood preservatives, but the ecotoxicity of some bio-based chemicals is higher, as in the case of some of the pyrolysis distillates. The wood preservation efficiency and the ecotoxicity of the studied chemicals had a poor correlation, implying that other factors besides treatment agent toxicity play a role in deterring fungal growth on treated wood. The amount of elemental toxins in the leachates was low. These results emphasize the importance of the chemical ecotoxicity of bio-based preservative compounds, as their detrimental effect on the environment can be higher than that of the traditional preservatives unless effectively linked to wood to prevent leaching.

Authors: Aitor Barbero-López, Jarkko Akkanen, Reijo Lappalainen, Sirpa Peräniemi, Antti Haapala
; Full Source: The Science of the total environment 2020 Aug 26;753:142013. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142013.