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Wood Fluorescence of Commercial Timbers Marketed in Mexico

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A market survey conducted in Mexico yielded 579 wood specimens attributed to 92 genera belonging to 40 families. The fluorescence characteristics of these timbers and their extracts were determined. Additional tests were conducted for the presence of natural saponins and aluminium. The combustion behavior (burning splinter test) was also studied. The results obtained largely concur with information on wood fluorescence and other physical characteristics published earlier. The families Fabaceae, Anacardiaceae and Rubiaceae showed positive fluorescence for a large number of genera or species. Vochysia was the only genus with a positive reaction to the test for aluminium. The froth test for natural saponins can contribute to wood identification in specific cases. The results of the burning splinter test are unambiguous only as regards the difference between charcoal and ash; ash characteristics (consistency, color) are difficult to interpret and their successful application in wood identification considered doubtful. The use of fluorescence and other physical features can be a very useful adjunct to the classical methods of wood identification in specific cases arising from the market situation and may be applied as rapid and easy tests to verify certain identifications.


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