The relationship between the cell wall ultrastructure of waterlogged wooden archeological artifacts and the state of water bound to cell walls and free in voids is fundamental to develop consolidating and drying technologies. Herein, a lacquer-wooden ware and a boat-coffin dating 4th century BC were selected as representative artifacts to study. Wood anatomy results indicated that they belonged to Idesia sp. and Machilus sp., respectively. They exhibited a typical spongy texture, as revealed by SEM observations, and their water contents had increased significantly. Solid state NMR, Py-GC/MS, imaging FTIR microscopy and 2D-XRD results demonstrated that the deterioration resulted from the partial cleavages of both polysaccharide backbones and cellulose hydrogen-bonding networks, almost complete elimination of acetyl side chains of hemicellulose, the partial depletion of β-O-4 interlinks, as well as oxidation and demethylation/demethoxylation of lignin. These further caused the disoriented arrangement of crystalline cellulose, and the decrease in cellulose crystallite dimensions and crystallinity. In consequence, mesopores and macropores formed, and the number of moisture-adsorbed sites and their accessibility increased. Moreover, results on free water deduced by the changes of pore structure and the maximum monolayer water capacity achieved by the GAB model indicated that water in waterlogged archeological wooden artifacts was mainly free water in mesopores.
Although there is considerable information on the chemistry of gelatinous (G) layers in tension wood (TW) fibers consisting of S1 + S2 + G cell wall structure (poplar), little is known on the chemistry of G-layers in TW fibers organized with S1+ G structure. This study investigated the distribution of lignin and non-cellulosic polysaccharides in ash TW fibers (S1+ G) using histochemistry and immunolocalization methods. TW fibers studied were fully developed (mature fibers) and obtained from two (TW-1, TW-2) mature European ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior L.). Based on differences in microfibril angle (MFA) and TW trees used, TW fibers were mainly classified into three types; 1) Type-1 fibers with MFA almost parallel to the fiber axis that were found in TW-1, 2) Type-2 fibers with 12° MFA that were abundant at the end of growth rings of TW-1 and 3) Type-3 fibers with 10° MFA that were found in TW-2. The S3 layer was absent in all TW fibers. In this study, the secondary cell wall structure of Type-1 and Type-2/Type-3 fibers were defined as G and GL (gelatinous-like) layers, respectively. Lignin with syringyl (S) units was detected in G/GL-layers, in which intensity and patterns of lignin staining likely related to the difference in MFA between G- and GL-layers. With hemicelluloses, heteroxylan and heteromannan epitopes were detected in G/GL-layers but these were much less abundant than those in S2 layers of normal wood (NW) fibers. Like lignin, distribution patterns of heteromannan epitopes in G/GL-layers likely related to differences in MFA between fiber types. Sparse xyloglucan epitopes were also detected in G/GL-layers. Homogalacturonan epitopes were absent in G/GL-layers. All fiber types showed abundant a-1, 5-arabinan epitopes in G/GL-layers. Overall results indicate that the chemistry of ash TW fibers studied differs significantly from that of other species reported previously, specifically TW fibers composed of S1 + S2 + G structure.
Angiosperm trees produce tension wood to actively control their vertical position. Tension wood has often been characterised by the presence of an unlignified inner fibre wall layer called the G-layer. Using this definition, previous reports indicate that only one-third of all tree species have tension wood with G-layers. Here we aim to (i) describe the large diversity of tension wood anatomy in tropical tree species, taking advantage of the recent understanding of tension wood anatomy and (ii) explore any link between this diversity and other ecological traits of the species. We sampled tension wood and normal wood in 432 trees from 242 species in French Guiana. The samples were observed using safranin and astra blue staining combined with optical microscopy. Species were assigned to four anatomical groups depending on the presence/absence of G-layers, and their degree of lignification. The groups were analysed for functional traits including wood density and light preferences. Eighty-six% of the species had G-layers in their tension wood which was lignified in most species, with various patterns of lignification. Only a few species did not have G-layers. We found significantly more species with lignified G-layers among shade-tolerant and shade-demanding species as well as species with a high wood density. Our results bring up-to-date the incidence of species with/without G-layers in the tropical lowland forest where lignified G-layers are the most common anatomy of tension wood. Species without G-layers may share a common mechanism with the bark motor taking over the wood motor. We discuss the functional role of lignin in the G-layer.
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) has distinctly colored heartwood as a result of extractive deposition during heartwood formation. This is known to affect natural durability and treatability with preservatives, as well as other types of wood modification involving infiltration with chemicals. The distribution of extractives in sapwood and heartwood of Douglas-fir was studied using fluorescence microscopy. Several different types of extractive including flavonoids, resin acids, and tannins were localized to heartwood cell walls, resin canals, and rays, using autofluorescence or staining of flavonoids with Naturstoff A reagent. Extractives were found to infiltrate the cell walls of heartwood tracheids and were also present to a lesser extent in sapwood tracheid cell walls, especially in regions adjacent to the resin canals. Förster resonance energy transfer measurements showed that the accessibility of lignin lining cell wall micropores to rhodamine dye was reduced by about 50%, probably as a result of cell wall-bound tannin-like materials which accumulate in heartwood relative to sapwood, and are responsible for the orange color of the heartwood. These results indicate that micro-distribution of heartwood extractives affects cell wall porosity which is reduced by the accumulation of heartwood extractives in softwood tracheid cell walls.
Pit membranes in bordered pits of tracheary elements of angiosperm xylem represent primary cell walls that undergo structural and chemical modifications, not only during cell death but also during and after their role as safety valves for water transport between conduits. Cellulose microfibrils, which are typically grouped in aggregates with a diameter between 20 to 30 nm, make up their main component. While it is clear that pectins and hemicellulose are removed from immature pit membranes during hydrolysis, recent observations of amphiphilic lipids and proteins associated with pit membranes raise important questions about drought-induced embolism formation and spread via air-seeding from gas-filled conduits. Indeed, mechanisms behind air-seeding remain poorly understood, which is due in part to little attention paid to the three-dimensional structure of pit membranes in earlier studies. Based on perfusion experiments and modelling, pore constrictions in fibrous pit membranes are estimated to be well below 50 nm, and typically smaller than 20 nm. Together with the low dynamic surface tensions of amphiphilic lipids at air-water interfaces in pit membranes, 5 to 20 nm pore constrictions are in line with the observed xylem water potentials values that generally induce spread of embolism. Moreover, pit membranes appear to show ideal porous medium properties for sap flow to promote hydraulic efficiency and safety due to their very high porosity (pore volume fraction), with highly interconnected, non-tortuous pore pathways, and the occurrence of multiple pore constrictions within a single pore. This three-dimensional view of pit membranes as mesoporous media may explain the relationship between pit membrane thickness and embolism resistance, but is largely incompatible with earlier, two-dimensional views on air-seeding. It is hypothesised that pit membranes enable water transport under negative pressure by producing stable, surfactant coated nanobubbles while preventing the entry of large bubbles that would cause embolism.
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.
The flow of xylem sap in bamboo is closely associated with metaxylem vessels and the pits in their cell walls. These pits are essential components of the water-transport system and are key intercellular pathways for transverse permeation of treatment agents related to utilization. Observations of metaxylem vessels and pits in moso bamboo culm internodes were carried out using environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) to examine mature bamboo fractures and resin casts. The results showed that bordered pits were distributed in relation to adjacent cell types with most pits between vessels and parenchyma cells and few pits between vessels and fibers of the bundle sheath. The pit arrangement was mainly opposite to alternate with apertures ranging from oval, flattened elliptical, or slit-like to coalescent. The vertical dimensions of inner apertures and outer apertures of the pits were about 0.9–2.7 μm and 1.1–3.8 μm, respectively. According to the relative position, and size difference between the inner apertures and their borders, the bordered pit shapes were categorized into three types, namely PI, PII and PIII (Fig. 3C). Half-bordered pit pairs were observed between vessels and direct contact parenchyma cells. Most vessel elements possessed simple perforation plates.
The aim of the present study was to investigate the orientation and localization of actin filaments and cortical microtubules in wood-forming tissues in conifers to understand wood formation. Small blocks were collected from the main stems of Abies firma, Pinus densiflora, and Taxus cuspidata during active seasons of the cambium. Bundles of actin filaments were oriented axially or longitudinally relative to the cell axis in fusiform and ray cambial cells. In differentiating tracheids, actin filaments were oriented longitudinally relative to the cell axis during primary and secondary wall formation. In contrast, the orientation of well-ordered cortical microtubules in tracheids changed from transverse to longitudinal during secondary wall formation. There was no clear relationship between the orientation of actin filaments and cortical microtubules in cambial cells and cambial derivatives. Aggregates of actin filaments and a circular band of cortical microtubules were localized around bordered pits and cross-field pits in differentiating tracheids. In addition, rope-like bands of actin filaments were observed during the formation of helical thickenings at the final stage of formation of secondary walls in tracheids. Actin filaments might not play a major role in changes in the orientation of cortical microtubules in wood-forming tissues. However, since actin filaments were co-localized with cortical microtubules during the formation of bordered pits, cross-field pits and helical thickenings at the final stage of formation of the secondary wall in tracheids, it seems plausible that actin filaments might be closely related to the localization of cortical microtubules during the development of these modifications of wood structure.
This review presents information on the relationship of ultrastructure and composition of wood cell walls, in order to understand how wood degrading bacteria utilise cell wall components for their nutrition. A brief outline of the structure and composition of plant cell walls and the degradation patterns associated with bacterial degradation of wood cell walls precedes the description of the relationship of cell wall micro- and ultrastructure to bacterial degradation of the cell wall. The main topics covered are cell wall structure and composition, patterns of cell wall degradation by erosion and tunnelling bacteria, and the relationship of cell wall ultrastructure and composition to wood degradation by erosion and tunnelling bacteria. Finally, pertinent information from select recent studies employing molecular approaches to identify bacteria which can degrade lignin and other wood cell wall components is presented, and prospects for future investigations on wood degrading bacteria are explored.