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1.  Fluctuations of cambial activity in relation to precipitation result in annual rings and intra-annual growth zones of xylem and phloem in teak (Tectona grandis) in Ivory Coast 
Annals of Botany  2012;110(4):861-873.
Background and Aims
Teak forms xylem rings that potentially carry records of carbon sequestration and climate in the tropics. These records are only useful when the structural variations of tree rings and their periodicity of formation are known.
The seasonality of ring formation in mature teak trees was examined via correlative analysis of cambial activity, xylem and phloem formation, and climate throughout 1·5 years. Xylem and phloem differentiation were visualized by light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy.
Key Results
A 3 month dry season resulted in semi-deciduousness, cambial dormancy and formation of annual xylem growth rings (AXGRs). Intra-annual xylem and phloem growth was characterized by variable intensity. Morphometric features of cambium such as cambium thickness and differentiating xylem layers were positively correlated. Cambium thickness was strongly correlated with monthly rainfall (R2 = 0·7535). In all sampled trees, xylem growth zones (XGZs) were formed within the AXGRs during the seasonal development of new foliage. When trees achieved full leaf, the xylem in the new XGZs appeared completely differentiated and functional for water transport. Two phloem growth rings were formed in one growing season.
The seasonal formation pattern and microstructure of teak xylem suggest that AXGRs and XGZs can be used as proxies for analyses of the tree history and climate at annual and intra-annual resolution.
PMCID: PMC3423803  PMID: 22805529
Growth rings; teak; Tectona grandis; vascular cambium; xylem and phloem formation
2.  High-resolution proxies for wood density variations in Terminalia superba 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(2):293-302.
Background and Aims
Density is a crucial variable in forest and wood science and is evaluated by a multitude of methods. Direct gravimetric methods are mostly destructive and time-consuming. Therefore, faster and semi- to non-destructive indirect methods have been developed.
Profiles of wood density variations with a resolution of approx. 50 µm were derived from one-dimensional resistance drillings, two-dimensional neutron scans, and three-dimensional neutron and X-ray scans. All methods were applied on Terminalia superba Engl. & Diels, an African pioneer species which sometimes exhibits a brown heart (limba noir).
Key Results
The use of X-ray tomography combined with a reference material permitted direct estimates of wood density. These X-ray-derived densities overestimated gravimetrically determined densities non-significantly and showed high correlation (linear regression, R2 = 0·995). When comparing X-ray densities with the attenuation coefficients of neutron scans and the amplitude of drilling resistance, a significant linear relation was found with the neutron attenuation coefficient (R2 = 0·986) yet a weak relation with drilling resistance (R2 = 0·243). When density patterns are compared, all three methods are capable of revealing the same trends. Differences are mainly due to the orientation of tree rings and the different characteristics of the indirect methods.
High-resolution X-ray computed tomography is a promising technique for research on wood cores and will be explored further on other temperate and tropical species. Further study on limba noir is necessary to reveal the causes of density variations and to determine how resistance drillings can be further refined.
PMCID: PMC3025726  PMID: 21131386
High-resolution X-ray tomography; neutron imaging; drilling resistance; Terminalia superba; wood density
3.  Lignification and Cell Wall Thickening in Nodes of Phyllostachys viridiglaucescens and Phyllostachys nigra 
Annals of Botany  2006;97(4):529-539.
• Background and Aims Bamboos are among the most important plants in the world. The anatomical structure and mechanical properties of the culm internode are well documented. Fewer details are available of the culm node. The aim of this study was a topochemical investigation on lignification and cell wall thickening in developing and maturing bamboo nodes. The deposition sequence and distribution of lignin structural units and cell wall thickening in different anatomical regions of the node of Phyllostachys viridiglaucescens and Phyllostachys nigra are discussed.
• Methods Cell wall thickening and lignification are investigated in the outer part of the nodal region and in the diaphragm of developing and maturing P. nigra culms and in maturing culms of P. viridiglaucescens of different age classes. The lignification during ageing was studied topochemically by means of cellular UV microspectrophotometry. A combination of light microscopy and image analysis techniques were used to measure cell wall thickness.
• Key Results The fibre and parenchyma cell wall thickness does not significantly increase during ageing. In the diaphragm, the cell walls are thinner and the cell diameter is larger than in the outer part of the node. In shoots, the lignin content in the epidermis, hypodermis and in both fibre and parenchyma cells of the diaphragm is relatively low compared with older culms. The fibre and parenchyma cells of the diaphragm have higher values of p-coumaric and ferulic acids than fibre and parenchyma cells of the outer part of the node.
• Conclusions It was hypothesized that the combination of more hydroxycinnamic acids and of thinner cell walls in combination with higher cell diameters (lower density and lower stiffness) in the diaphragm than in the outer part of the node may play an important role in the biomechanical function of the node by acting as a spring-like joint to support the culm by bending forces.
PMCID: PMC2803665  PMID: 16464876
Bamboo; Phyllostachys viridiglaucescens; Phyllostachys nigra; nodes; anatomy; lignification; cell wall thickening; UV-microspectophotometry

Results 1-3 (3)