AbstractIn this study, four species of wood-rot fungi—Piptoporus betulinus, Fomes fomentarius, Irpex lacteus, and Coriolus versicolor—were compared regarding their ability to degrade the wood of white birch and used to assess the degradation mechanisms. Chemical analyses were conducted following the Chinese national standard methods and included Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). The wood samples were inoculated with the four wood-rot fungi for a predetermined duration in the wood-decaying test. In the wood weight loss test, both F. fomentarius and P. betulinus showed the greatest reduction, but through different mechanisms: F. fomentarius mainly decomposed lignin, whereas P. betulinus mainly acted on cellulose. F. fomentarius, I. lacteus, and C. versicolor exhibited a shift at 3417 cm-1 related to O-H stretching in hydroxyl groups, along with decreased absorption at 3410, 3406, and 3405 cm-1, most likely due to the degradation of the related functional groups of lignin side chains. The wood decayed by P. betulinus displayed a change in the relative position of cellulose-associated bands at 1161 and 898 cm-1. F. fomentarius can be considered a potential agent for the biopulping of white birch because of its high ability to degrade lignin, high holocellulose content, low content of 1% NaOH, and ethanol-benzene extractives.