Anisotropy of cell wall polymers in branches of hardwood and softwood: a polarized FTIR study

Abstract

The mechanical and physical properties of wood fibres are dependent on the organisation of their constituent polymers (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin). Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) microscopy was used to examine the anisotropy of the main wood polymers in isolated cell wall fragments from branches of maple and Serbian spruce. Polarised FTIR measurements indicated an anisotropy, i.e. orientation of the cellulose microfibrils that was more or less parallel to the longitudinal axis of the cell wall. The hemicelluloses, glucomannan and xylan appeared to have a close link to the orientation of the cellulose and, thus, an orientation more parallel to the axis of the cell wall. An important result is that, in both maple and spruce samples, lignin was found to be organised in a parallel way in relation to the longitudinal cell wall axis, as well as to the cellulose. The results show that, despite the different lignin precursors and the different types of hemicelluloses in these two kinds of wood, lignin has a similar orientation, when it comes to the longitudinal axis of the cell wall.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Republic of Serbia (Project #173017) and a Short Time Scientific Mission in COST Action FP0802 by Jasna Simonović at Innventia, Stockholm, Sweden. The Wallenberg Wood Science Center is acknowledged for funding of Jasna Stevanic and Lennart Salmén. We also acknowledge Gabor Stein and Krzysztof Pawlak, Biology Research Center, Szeged, Hungary, for obtaining images of the cell wall fragments.

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Correspondence to Lennart Salmén or Ksenija Radotić.

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Simonović, J., Stevanic, J., Djikanović, D. et al. Anisotropy of cell wall polymers in branches of hardwood and softwood: a polarized FTIR study. Cellulose 18, 1433–1440 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10570-011-9584-1

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Keywords

  • Cellulose
  • Glucomannan
  • Lignin
  • Orientation
  • Wood
  • Xylan