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1.  Penetration and Effectiveness of Micronized Copper in Refractory Wood Species 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0163124.
The North American wood decking market mostly relies on easily treatable Southern yellow pine (SYP), which is being impregnated with micronized copper (MC) wood preservatives since 2006. These formulations are composed of copper (Cu) carbonate particles (CuCO3·Cu(OH)2), with sizes ranging from 1 nm to 250 μm, according to manufacturers. MC-treated SYP wood is protected against decay by solubilized Cu2+ ions and unreacted CuCO3·Cu(OH)2 particles that successively release Cu2+ ions (reservoir effect). The wood species used for the European wood decking market differ from the North American SYP. One of the most common species is Norway spruce wood, which is poorly treatable i.e. refractory due to the anatomical properties, like pore size and structure, and chemical composition, like pit membrane components or presence of wood extractives. Therefore, MC formulations may not suitable for refractory wood species common in the European market, despite their good performance in SYP. We evaluated the penetration effectiveness of MC azole (MCA) in easily treatable Scots pine and in refractory Norway spruce wood. We assessed the effectiveness against the Cu-tolerant wood-destroying fungus Rhodonia placenta. Our findings show that MCA cannot easily penetrate refractory wood species and could not confirm the presence of a reservoir effect.
PMCID: PMC5029918  PMID: 27649315
2.  Wood Specific Gravity Variations and Biomass of Central African Tree Species: The Simple Choice of the Outer Wood 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0142146.
Wood specific gravity is a key element in tropical forest ecology. It integrates many aspects of tree mechanical properties and functioning and is an important predictor of tree biomass. Wood specific gravity varies widely among and within species and also within individual trees. Notably, contrasted patterns of radial variation of wood specific gravity have been demonstrated and related to regeneration guilds (light demanding vs. shade-bearing). However, although being repeatedly invoked as a potential source of error when estimating the biomass of trees, both intraspecific and radial variations remain little studied. In this study we characterized detailed pith-to-bark wood specific gravity profiles among contrasted species prominently contributing to the biomass of the forest, i.e., the dominant species, and we quantified the consequences of such variations on the biomass.
Radial profiles of wood density at 8% moisture content were compiled for 14 dominant species in the Democratic Republic of Congo, adapting a unique 3D X-ray scanning technique at very high spatial resolution on core samples. Mean wood density estimates were validated by water displacement measurements. Wood density profiles were converted to wood specific gravity and linear mixed models were used to decompose the radial variance. Potential errors in biomass estimation were assessed by comparing the biomass estimated from the wood specific gravity measured from pith-to-bark profiles, from global repositories, and from partial information (outer wood or inner wood).
Wood specific gravity profiles from pith-to-bark presented positive, neutral and negative trends. Positive trends mainly characterized light-demanding species, increasing up to 1.8 per meter for Piptadeniastrum africanum, and negative trends characterized shade-bearing species, decreasing up to 1 per meter for Strombosia pustulata. The linear mixed model showed the greater part of wood specific gravity variance was explained by species only (45%) followed by a redundant part between species and regeneration guilds (36%). Despite substantial variation in wood specific gravity profiles among species and regeneration guilds, we found that values from the outer wood were strongly correlated to values from the whole profile, without any significant bias. In addition, we found that wood specific gravity from the DRYAD global repository may strongly differ depending on the species (up to 40% for Dialium pachyphyllum).
Main Conclusion
Therefore, when estimating forest biomass in specific sites, we recommend the systematic collection of outer wood samples on dominant species. This should prevent the main errors in biomass estimations resulting from wood specific gravity and allow for the collection of new information to explore the intraspecific variation of mechanical properties of trees.
PMCID: PMC4640573  PMID: 26555144
3.  Bouldering: an alternative strategy to long-vertical climbing in root-climbing hortensias 
In the Neotropics, the genus Hydrangea of the popular ornamental hortensia family is represented by climbing species that strongly cling to their support surface by means of adhesive roots closely positioned along specialized anchoring stems. These root-climbing hortensia species belong to the nearly exclusive American Hydrangea section Cornidia and generally are long lianescent climbers that mostly flower and fructify high in the host tree canopy. The Mexican species Hydrangea seemannii, however, encompasses not only long lianescent climbers of large vertical rock walls and coniferous trees, but also short ‘shrub-like’ climbers on small rounded boulders. To investigate growth form plasticity in root-climbing hortensia species, we tested the hypothesis that support variability (e.g. differences in size and shape) promotes plastic responses observable at the mechanical, structural and anatomical level. Stem bending properties, architectural axis categorization, tissue organization and wood density were compared between boulder and long-vertical tree-climbers of H. seemannii. For comparison, the mechanical patterns of a closely related, strictly long-vertical tree-climbing species were investigated. Hydrangea seemannii has fine-tuned morphological, mechanical and anatomical responses to support variability suggesting the presence of two alternative root-climbing strategies that are optimized for their particular environmental conditions. Our results suggest that variation of some stem anatomical traits provides a buffering effect that regulates the mechanical and hydraulic demands of two distinct plant architectures. The adaptive value of observed plastic responses and the importance of considering growth form plasticity in evolutionary and conservation studies are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4233742  PMID: 25079869
biomechanics; phenotypic accommodation; phenotypic plasticity; plant architecture; stem anatomy; wood densitometry
4.  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
5.  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
6.  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 1-6 (6)