Transformations of Nanoenabled Copper Formulations Govern Release, Antifungal Effectiveness, and Sustainability throughout the Wood Protection Lifecycle

Daniele Pantano, Nicole Neubauer, Jana Navratilova, Lorette Scifo, Chiara Civardi, Vicki Stone, Frank von der Kammer, Philipp Müller, Marcos Sanles Sobrido, Bernard Angeletti, Jerome Rose, Wendel Wohlleben*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Here we compare the standard European benchmark of wood treatment by molecularly dissolved copper amine (Cu-amine), also referred to as aqueous copper amine (ACA), against two nanoenabled formulations: copper(II)oxide nanoparticles (CuO NPs) in an acrylic paint to concentrate Cu as a barrier on the wood surface, and a suspension of micronized basic copper carbonate (CuCO3·Cu(OH)2) for wood pressure treatment. After characterizing the properties of the (nano)materials and their formulations, we assessed their effects in vitro against three fungal species: Coniophora puteana, Gloeophyllum trabeum, and Trametes versicolor, finding them to be mediated only partially by ionic transformation. To assess the use phase, we quantify both release rate and form. Cu leaching rates for the two types of impregnated wood (conventional and nanoenabled) are not significantly different at 172 ± 6 mg/m2, with Cu being released predominantly in ionic form. Various simulations of outdoor aging with release sampling by runoff, during condensation, by different levels of mechanical shear, all resulted in comparable form and rate of release from the nanoenabled or the molecular impregnated woods. Because of dissolving transformations, the nanoenabled impregnation does not introduce additional concern over and above that associated with the traditional impregnation. In contrast, Cu released from wood coated with the CuO acrylate contained particles, but the rate was at least 100-fold lower. In the same ranking, the effectiveness to protect against the wood-decaying basidiomycete Coniophora puteana was significant with both impregnation technologies but remained insignificant for untreated wood and wood coated by the acrylic CuO. Accordingly, a lifecycle-based sustainability analysis indicates that the CuO acrylic coating is less sustainable than the technological alternatives, and should not be developed into a commercial product.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1128-1138
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number3
Early online date26 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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