Wood Science and Technology

, Volume 39, Issue 8, pp 601–617 | Cite as

Polysaccharides in some industrially important hardwood species

  • S. WillförEmail author
  • A. Sundberg
  • A. Pranovich
  • B. Holmbom


The amount and composition of sugar units comprising polysaccharides in sapwood and heartwood, or stemwood, of 11 industrially important pulpwood species were analysed. The polysaccharide content was between 60 and 80% (w/w) for all species, with cellulose as the predominant polysaccharide type and glucuronoxylans as the main non-cellulosic polysaccharides. The second most abundant non-cellulosic polysaccharides were either pectins, i.e. polygalacturonic acids, or glucomannans. The amount of acidic sugar units were 15–23% of the total amount of non-cellulosic sugar units in all samples, with the Acacia species in the high end. The amount and composition of water-soluble carbohydrates from ground wood samples were also analysed, since these are important in mechanical and chemimechanical pulping, and as a possible source of bioactive polymers. Sapwood released more carbohydrates than heartwood for most species. It is to be noted that the relative amount of dissolved acidic sugar units was larger from the heartwood than from the sapwood for all species. Probably due to the mild treatment conditions, the main dissolved polysaccharides were xylans only for a few samples, while easily soluble galactans, arabinogalactans, or mannans dominated in most species. Pectins dominated in heartwood of Populus grandidentata. Generally, pectins and acidic xylans were the main acidic polysaccharides.


Xylose Hemicellulose Pectin Galacturonic Acid Tension Wood 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Yang Liu is acknowledged for her help with the analyses. Suvi Pietarinen, Linda Nisula, Jarl Hemming, and Simon Fagerudd (UPM-Kymmene) are acknowledged for providing the wood samples. This work is part of the activities at the Åbo Akademi Process Chemistry Centre within the Finnish Centre of Excellence Programme (2000–2005) by the Academy of Finland.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Willför
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Sundberg
    • 1
  • A. Pranovich
    • 1
  • B. Holmbom
    • 1
  1. 1.Process Chemistry Centre, Laboratory of Wood and Paper ChemistryÅbo Akademi UniversityÅboFinland

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