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Histochemical Study of the Chemical Composition of Vestured Pits in two Species of Eucalyptus

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We analyzed the chemical composition of vestures of vessel elements and wood fibres of Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Eucalyptus globulus by ultraviolet (UV) microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) after staining with potassium permanganate (KMnO4) or the PATAg reaction, and field-emission scanning electron microscopy (FE-SEM). Samples were treated with dilute solutions of NaOH at various concentrations. Before treatment with alkali, the vestures on the secondary walls of vessel elements and wood fibres were visible on UV micrographs taken at 280 nm and were strongly stained by KMnO4. Vestures were strongly stained by the PATAg reaction in samples that had been treated with 0.1% NaOH. However, treatment with higher concentrations of NaOH dissolved the vestures. FE-SEM observations showed that the process of dissolution of vestures during alkali extraction differed between the two species. It appears that vestures in Eucalyptus woods consist mainly of alkali-soluble polyphenols and polysaccharides. In addition, the chemical composition of vestures may differ between the two species of Eucalyptus that we examined.


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