The identification and characteristics of Phoebe zhennan buried wood

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ABSTRACT

The subject of this study is the structure and composition of buried Phoebe zhennan wood. Through comparative studies of the anatomy and composition with modern undegraded wood, the objective was to understand any changes that have taken place in the P. zhennan buried wood samples. The P. zhennan buried wood can be identified by wood structure characteristics and volatile components analysis. It is required that the microstructural features are identical to those of modern P. zhennan wood; simultaneously, the volatile components of the wood must contain six characteristic compounds with the same peak retention time. The P. zhennan buried wood sample which was used in the experiment was dated 8035–7945 BP (95.4% probability). Further research showed that the cell wall of P. zhennan buried wood had been damaged, the hemicellulose was heavily degraded but there was no obvious degradation of crystalline cellulose. Moisture was present mainly as free water and large amounts of mineral elements such as Fe, and Ni were detected in the ash of P. zhennan buried wood. Both the buried and modern wood of P. zhennan were acidic.

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Figures
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    Microstructure of five buried wood samples. – a, b, c: The transverse, tangential and radial section of sample A. – d, e, f: Three sections of sample B. – g, h, i: Three sections of sample C. – j, k, l: Three sections of sample D. – m, n, o: Three sections of sample E. – Scale bars = 200 μm.

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    Microstructure of Phoebe zhennan modern wood sample. – a: Transverse section. – b: Tangential section. – c: Radial section. – Scale bars = 200 μm.

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    Total ion chromatography of volatile components in Phoebe zhennan modern wood sample and five buried wood samples.

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    SEM images of Phoebe zhennan modern and buried wood. – a, b, c: Transverse sections of P. zhennan modern wood. – d, e, f: Transverse section of P. zhennan buried wood. – Scale bars = 60 μm in a, d; 40 μm in b, e; 20 μm in c, f.

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    FTIR spectra of Phoebe zhennan buried and modern wood. The peak indicated by the arrow is where the two samples were mainly compared.

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    XRD patterns of Phoebe zhennan buried and modern wood. The characteristic peaks representing the crystal surface of wood cellulose appeared in the two samples near the 2θ of 16°, 22° and 34°.

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    TGA figure of Phoebe zhennan buried and fresh wood. – a: The curve of sample mass percentage in the heating process. – b: The curve of sample pyrolysis rate during the heating process. The dotted line at 300°C points to the difference in the pyrolysis rate of wood hemicellulose.

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    Wood ash surfaces tested by EDS. – a: Ash of Phoebe zhennan modern wood. – b: Ash of P. zhennan buried wood. The area selected for testing is shown in the red box.

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