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Diffusion Pathways for Heartwood Substances in Acacia Mangium

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The cellular distribution of heartwood substances and the structure of the pathways for their diffusion were studied in Acacia mangium Willd. Apart from ray parenchyma cells, axial parenchyma cells also are involved in the formation of heartwood substances. Heartwood substances were unevenly distributed in the heartwood. A closer inspection of interfibre pit pairs revealed that, although many pit membranes were completely covered with encrusting materials, some pit pairs had many small openings on their pit membranes. The openings possibly function as intercellular diffusion pathways for heartwood substances. The sizes of the pits varied considerably, ranging from 0.4 to 2.3 μm in diameter. These structural variations in the interfiber pits might be one of the factors contributing to the uneven distribution of the heartwood substances. A large number of blind pits were present in the ray parenchyma cells and faced the intercellular spaces, into which heartwood substances from the ray parenchyma cells were released via these blind pits. Resin-cast replicas demonstrated that the intercellular spaces and the blind pits formed a three-dimensional network that is considered to serve as an extracellular diffusion pathway for heartwood substances.


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