Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Staying in shape: How wood chemistry relates to structural stability
by Staff Writers
Cayenne, French Guiana (SPX) Mar 29, 2016

B. guianensis trunk cross section. In the centre, the heartwood is colored by secondary metabolites. Image courtesy Julie Bossu - Ecofog laboratory (CNRS/Inra/Cirad/Agroparistech/Universite de Guyane/Universite des Antilles).

Wood has many uses, which require to know its shrinking1 and swelling capacity in relation to humidity (known as dimensional stability). Researchers from the CNRS and Cirad have shown that in Bagassa guianensis, a fast-growing Guianese tree, the secondary metabolites, whose main purpose is to defend the tree against insects and fungi, also serve to reduce shrinkage.

These metabolites therefore make B. guianensis wood very stable. These results were obtained using a method that will be applied to a broad range of other tree species. They show how describing biodiversity through in-depth analysis of wood properties can help identify promising species for future plantation. These findings will be published in PLOS ONE on March 23rd 2016.

To improve the diversity of trees commercially exploited for wood, while relying as far as possible on local biodiversity, new tree species need to be found for cultivation. This requires a continued effort to describe biodiversity, not only from a taxonomic point of view - meaning the scientific classification of species - but also by the characterization of the properties of their wood. The objective is to respond to the demand for lumber materials, notably in tropical regions where there is rapid population growth3.

For this reason, chemists and biomechanists from the EcoFoG laboratory first selected several species of interest by combining two databases containing several decades of measurements made in French Guiana. The first of these contained data on tree growth, the second on the technological properties of wood.

Out of the species selected, the researchers targeted Bagassa guianensis, a fast-growing Guianese tree with high-durability, medium-density wood (neither too heavy nor too light).

By measuring the physical and mechanical properties of several hundred wood samples from a dozen trees at different stages of growth, the researchers revealed that B. guianensis wood has a particularly strong dimensional stability, whatever its density.

To understand why the wood of this species is so stable, the scientists investigated the secondary metabolites contained in its 'heartwood'. This central part of the trunk is darker in color than the outer layer of 'sapwood' around it because of defense metabolites synthesized to protect the tree from insects and fungi.

The researchers compared the way B. guianensis wood samples reacted to drying in relation to the quantity of metabolites present. Their results demonstrate that the heartwood is very stable, whatever the humidity, and that this stability increases as the metabolite content rises.

It is therefore the metabolites that prevent shrinkage and give the wood its high stability. These findings show that metabolite content could play a greater role than wood density in drying shrinkage. They also make it possible to hypothesize about the mechanisms of mechanical deformation during shrinkage.

In addition, the results have enabled researchers to test new statistical models integrating metabolite content in order to predict wood shrinkage and, therefore, its behavior during drying. The researchers now want to take their work a step further in order to understand the effects of metabolite chemistry on wood properties.

They also want to expand their analyses to a greater variety of Guianese species to find suitable candidates for plantation and local production of construction lumber. They are looking for other trees with useful properties like B. guianensis, which was already known for its rapid growth and durability and has now been shown to have high dimensional stability.

Research paper: New insights on wood dimensional stability influenced by secondary metabolites: the case of a fast-growing tropical species Bagassa guianensis Aubl. Julie Bossu, Jacques Beauchene, Yannick Estevez, Christophe Duplais, Bruno Clair. PLOS ONE, March 23rd 2016.

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Space Technology News - Applications and Research

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Tunable windows for privacy, camouflage
Boston MA (SPX) Mar 21, 2016
Say goodbye to blinds. Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a technique that can quickly change the opacity of a window, turning it cloudy, clear or somewhere in between with the flick of a switch. Tunable windows aren't new but most previous technologies have relied on electrochemical reactions achieved through expensive manu ... read more

Permanent Lunar Colony Possible in 10 Years

China to use data relay satellite to explore dark side of moon

NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

New Gravity Map Gives Best View Yet Inside Mars

ExoMars probe imaged en route to Mars

How the ExoMars mission could sniff out life on Mars

ExoMars on its way to solve the Red Planet's mysteries

British bacon sandwich en route to ISS tastes out of this world

China regulator frowns on Anbang's hotel bids: report

Broomstick flying or red-light ping-pong? Gadgets at German fair

Jacobs Joins Coalition for Deep Space Exploration

China's 1st space lab Tiangong-1 ends data service

China's aim to explore Mars

China to establish first commercial rocket launch company

China's ambition after space station

Cygnus Set to Deliver Its Largest Load of Station Science, Cargo

Three new members join crew of International Space Station

Grandpa astronaut to break Scott Kelly's space record

Three new crew, including US grandpa, join space station

MHI signs H-IIA launch deal for UAE Mars mission

Launch of Dragon Spacecraft to ISS Postponed Until April

ILS and INMARSAT Agree To Future Proton Launch

Soyuz 2-1B Carrier Rocket Launched From Baikonur

Most eccentric planet ever known flashes astronomers with reflected light

VLA shows earliest stages of planet formation

VLA observes earliest stages of planet formation

NASA's K2 mission: Kepler second chance to shine

A new model for how twisted bundles take shape

Local fingerprint of hydrogen bonding captured in experiments

Lehigh scientists extend the reach of single crystals

A new-structure magnetic memory device developed

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement