Fungi were isolated and identified in ten aircraft that had been operating in marine tropical environments. Distribution and growth of fungi depended on availability of water and nutrients. Laboratory experiments demonstrated that surface washes, including the approved military maintenance procedure, were ineffective in removing fungal hyphae embedded in polyurethane coatings. Surface cleaning removed spores and discoloration associated with fungi, but fragments of the hyphae remained and grew as soon as conditions were favorable. Aged coatings fouled more rapidly than new coatings. Fungicides incorporated into the topcoats produced mixed results. Bare aluminum suffered localized corrosion when colonized by fungi.
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