AbstractThe chemical and morphological changes in heartwood specimens of Liquidambar orientalis Mill. caused by the white-rot fungus Trametes versicolor and the brown-rot fungi Tyromyces palustris and Gloeophyllum trabeum were studied by wet chemistry, FT-IR, GC-MS analyses, and photo-microscopy. According to GC-MS results, 26 extracts identified in the ethanol/toluene extraction and 17 in the ethanol extraction were found. Heartwood specimens of L. orientalis were highly susceptible to the fungi tested. While 1% NaOH solubility increased 35% in the specimen decayed by T. palustris, only an 8% increase was seen in the specimen exposed to T. versicolor when compared to the control specimen. Decayed wood by T. palustris showed a 5.5% increase in the Klason lignin content when compared to control specimens; however, the Klason lignin content decreased after a T. versicolor attack for 12 weeks. A T. versicolor attack in the cell walls was seen both from the lumina and from the cell corners, and the attack from the cell corners was mainly clear in ray parenchyma cells. An excessive destruction was detected in the wood structure attacked by T. palustris. The cell collapse was caused by a distortion in the plane of the wood cells. This extensive degradation was seen in all types of cell walls. Cracks in the cell walls were also detected in the specimens.