Fourteen isolates of basidiomycete decay fungi (12 species) were maintained for 18 years on agar slants transferred annually and also stored as mycelium-agar cores under cold sterile water without subculture. Isolates stored by each method were evaluated for decay effectiveness using a standard laboratory accelerated soil-block decay test. Effectiveness was measured by mean percent mass loss of wood blocks. There was no significant difference (p < or = 0.05) in decay effectiveness between storage methods for 12 of the fungus isolates tested. For the 2 fungi that showed a significant difference in the amount of decay with respect to storage method, 1 fungus (Fomitopsis lilacinogilva) produced more decay by the strain maintained as an agar slant, while the other fungus (Trametes versicolor) produced more decay by the strain stored in sterile water. Results suggested that storage under sterile water is an easy and effective method to store isolates of decay fungi for long periods, but as with any microbial storage method, careful monitoring of isolates upon revival is necessary.