Selected Wood Properties of Prunus Africana (Hook) Grown in Kenya as Possible Reasons for its High Natural Durability
Research subject and fields:
Studies were carried out on the influence of Prunus africana heartwood extractives on the growth of selected wood decay fungi. Also, wood chemical and mineral content, dimensional stability and anatomical features of P. africana were studied. Heartwood extractives were tested in 100 ppm and 500 ppm concentrations on white, brown rot, and blue stain fungi and growth inhibition was determined as a factor of time. Dimensional stability was determined by computing the swelling coefficient after the blocks were saturated with moisture. Klason lignin, Kürschner cellulose, extractive and ash contents were determined by standard procedures. Infrared analyses were performed using Perkin Elmer FTIR spectrometer. Microscopic examination was performed using an environmental scanning electron microscope. The results showed that the wood is dimensionally stable, and contains 12.7 % extractives, 37.6 % cellulose and 30.4 % lignin. Extractives deposited in vessels are highly soluble in dichloromethane and mainly composed of terpenes. Extractives were able to inhibit the growth of white rot fungi Coriolus versicolor, brown rot fungi Poria placenta and blue stain fungi Aureobasidium pullulans at different concentrations tested and could explain the high durability of Prunus africana wood species.