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Colour of larch heartwood and relationships to extractives and brown-rot decay resistance

Abstract : Larch heartwood is appreciated for its good mechanical properties, its colour and its texture, and it is often used outdoors because of its natural durability (decay resistance). In this study the colour of larch heartwood was studied in relation to extractives and decay resistance, with the aim to estimate durability of larch heartwood from its colour. On a total of 293 trees colour in the CIE L*a*b* space (L* lightness, a* red/green axis, b* yellow/blue axis), extractives content (acetone and hot-water extractives, amount of phenolics) and the brown-rot decay resistance were determined. For calculating the relative decay resistance ( x), mass loss after inoculation for 16 weeks with two fungi [ Coniophora puteana (Schum.ex.Fr.) Karst., Poria placenta (Fr.) Cke, European standard EN 113] of larch heartwood samples was compared to Scots pine ( Pinus sylvestris L) sapwood reference samples (EN 350-1). Different species [Japanese larch ( Larix kaempferi Lamb.), Hybrid larch (Larix deciduax L. kaempferi) and European larch ( L. decidua Mill.)], provenances and age classes (38-year, >150-year) were included. Japanese larch heartwood turned out to be significantly more reddish (higher a*-values) compared to the European larch provenances. Reddishness of the hybrids was intermediate. The red hue (+a*) was strongly correlated with the amount of phenols ( r =0.84) and decay resistance ( r =0.63) and therefore suitable for prediction of both parameters. The results suggest that colour measurements of larch heartwood could be of benefit in tree breeding programs and for an optimised utilization of larch timber.
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Notburga Gierlinger, Dominique Jacques, Michael Grabner, Rupert Wimmer, Manfred Schwanninger, et al.. Colour of larch heartwood and relationships to extractives and brown-rot decay resistance. Trees - Structure and Function, Springer Verlag, 2004, 18 (1), pp.102-108. ⟨10.1007/s00468-003-0290-y⟩. ⟨hal-02682319⟩



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