US Forest Service Research & Development
Contact Information
  • US Forest Service Research & Development
  • 1400 Independence Ave., SW
  • Washington, D.C. 20250-0003
  • 800-832-1355
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Carol A. Clausen

Carol A. Clausen

Supervisory Research Microbiologist
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
United States

Phone: 608-231-9253
Contact Carol A. Clausen

Current Research

My primary research goals are to develop: (1) low toxicity treatments for improved durability and performance of wood products(2) novel diagnostic methods to detect incipient decay, and (3) improved test methodologies for mold fungi. Integral to this work is an understanding of the mechanism of brown-rot decay so that treatments can be targeted to arrest growth of decay and mold fungi and sensitive detection methods can be designed based on fungal metabolites. Current research on wood protection systems utilizes synergistic combinations of organics and natural biocides to improve the durability of wood products. Accelerated test methods that rely on fungal metabolites, imaging technology, or field simulations are being developed for decay and mold detection in laboratory and field applications.

Research Interests

  • Development of low toxicity wood protection systems
  • Diagnostic methods for decay and mold fungi
  • Mechanism of brown-rot decay

Past Research

Remediation of treated waste wood

Why This Research is Important

Wood as a sustainable and versatile building material and its increased use in construction minimizes life-cycle impacts of a structure while maximizing carbon storage for the life of the structure. Obviously, the longer the service life of that structure, the greater that benefit will be. Failure of wood in-service from biodeterioration by fungi and insects is a primary cause of user dissatisfaction. Chemical treatments can be used to improve wood's resistance to fungal decay and insect damage, but new treatments are needed that are environmentally compatible and safe for indoor use and still prevent a multitude of organisms from attacking the wood over a long period of time. Innovative strategies to improve in-service durability include:

  • Bio-targets-targeted inhibition based on fungal or termite physiology
  • Synergistic multi-component biocides
  • Nano-biocides
  • Nano-carriers for controlled release of biocides
  • Naturally occurring plant extractives
  • Increased use of naturally durable underutilized or invasive wood species

Rapid methods are being developed for screening potential biocides in the laboratory and evaluating their performance in field tests to reduce the time it takes for new technologies to reach the market place.


  • University of Wisconsin,Madison, WI, M.S. Bacteriology 1983
  • Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL, B.S. Microbiology 1979

Professional Organizations

  • The International Research Group On Wood Protection, Member (1996 - Current)
    Co-chair 2003-2005
  • American Wood Protection Association, Member (2005 - 2011)
    General Chair 2010
  • International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation Society, Member (2003 - 2010)
  • American Society for Microbiology, Member (1977 - 2007)

Featured Publications & Products



Research Highlights


Centennial Edition, Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material

The Wood Handbook—Wood as an Engineering Material serves as a primary reference document for a wide variety of users-from the general publ ...


Natural fumigants protect wood against termites

Forest Products Laboratory researchers discovered that essential oils from some common plants such as dill, rosemary and lemongrass can be used ...


Wood Can Last for Centuries if Protected From Moisture

Report dispels myths about wood construction through proper information that educates and empowers the public


Last updated on : 09/16/2016