Friday, November 7, 2014

Prediction of Decay and Termite Resistance of Western Red Cedar Heartwood

New publication from our colleagues at FPInnovations

Western red cedar (WRC) is highly valued for its natural durability. Rapid methods to assess heartwood durability are needed to identify breeding stock that will ultimately yield trees with durable wood when harvested. Chromatographic methods to detect heartwood extractives have been developed, but these still require significant time and laboratory resources, and rely upon an understanding of the relationship between extractives and durability that is still incomplete. Visible/Near infrared (VIS/NIR) spectroscopy combined with multivariate statistical analysis has been used to rapidly predict a wide range of wood properties, including extractive content and decay resistance. The present work investigates the ability of VIS/NIR spectroscopy to predict extractive content, decay resistance and termite resistance of WRC heartwood, and explores the association between extractive content and durability. Partial Least Squares (PLS) models based on VIS/NIR spectra had moderate predictive ability for lignans, plicatic acid, beta-thujaplicinol, and total extractives. Other extractives were poorly predicted. Developed PLS models were not predictive for decay resistance, but were moderately predictive of termite resistance. Decay and termite resistance were not strongly associated with any measured extractive. A moderately strong correlation was observed between termite resistance and red coloration (a*). Some of the models developed may be suitable for screening, but none are accurate enough for phenotyping.

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