A scientist from the forestry research institute Scion has won an award for her research into an environmentally friendly treatment for a fungi which is estimated to cost the forestry industry $1000 million annually.
Tripti Singh's research looked at using naturally-occuring substances to protect wood against sapstain, or blue stain fungi, which can cause a discolouration in the timber and can reduce its value.
She was runner-up for the adding value to nature category of the MacDiarmid Young Scientists of the Year awards.
Dr Singh's research used a combination of a naturally-occurring white mould which does not affect the timber, and an extract from shrimp's skeletons, to protect wood from the fungi.
The treatment is applied in a spray form during the trials and Dr Singh says it would be a good alternative to chemical fungicides which are currently used. She says the idea is to apply it when logs are felled in the forest.