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Osmium Staining Fails to Detect Early Cell Wall Damage in Brown Rot Wood Decay

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Loss of cell wall birefringence under polarised light in the light microscope is an important diagnostic characteristic for early stages of brown rot wood decay not available with the scanning electron microscope (SEM). Osmium tetroxide staining was explored as a means of visualising this early manifestation of decay in the SEM, but proved unsuccessful as X-ray spectroscopy indicated that osmium was evenly distributed across both distorted and non-distorted cell walls.


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