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Acacia's durability

Relationships between mass loss (%) caused by Coriolus versicolor and tree age.


Biological degradation of wood is a very complex process that depends on many factors. To test the natural durability of wood against wood-eating fungi, wood samples are typically exposed to them.

At the end of the exposure, the loss of mass caused by the attack of the fungi allows the natural durability of the wood to be assessed.


The loss of mass divides the species into different classes: class 1, very durable, to class 5, non-durable. Sapwood is always considered non-durable no matter the species considered. Therefore, the durability tests only measure the heartwood of trees.


The median values of mass loss caused by the Coriolus fungus are shown in the figure below.
















Analysis of median mass loss values shows that juvenile wood (located near the pith) is less resistant than mature wood (located near the bark) to attack by lignivorous fungi.

Several studies show that the difference in durability observed between juvenile and mature wood can be attributed to the strong variations in extract content, which is absent in the sapwood, barely found in the juvenile wood, and increases towards the outer areas of the heartwood. These chemical substances make the wood resistant to degradation.

In addition, the natural durability of the heartwood increases as the sapwood is approached. In the Robinia trees, it is the polyphenols (more specifically, flavonoids ) that give the wood its natural durability.

More information about polyphenols can be found here


Overall, Robinia wood is assigned to class 1 (very durable), although the more sensitive juvenile wood is mainly found in class 2 (durable). However, the proportion of juvenile wood in the log is significantly lower than that of mature wood. This is particularly true in the case of Romanian forests, where Robinia grows slowly.




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