Natural durability of four Tunisian Eucalyptus wood species and their respective compositions in extractives

IRG/WP 19-10942

S Ben Ayed, M T Elaieb, S Dumarçay, B De Freitas Homen De Faria, M-F Thévenon, P Gerardin, K Candelier

In the 50’s, Tunisia government introduced more than 11 Eucalyptus wood species. Eucalyptus species were planted in Tunisia in different arboreta throughout the country for close observation and adaptation to climate and soil. These fast-growing wood species were mainly used as fire wood, for the production of mine wood and to fight against the erosion. These tree species were adapted themselves very well to the Tunisian climate. Now, they tend to become invasive wood species which need to be economically valued. Past study showed that these Tunisian Eucalyptus have great technological properties allowing us to be used as wooden material. However, there is wide variation in heartwood natural durability between eucalypt species. The evaluation of wood durability enables the definition of reliable parameters to predict the service life of wood-based products.This study aimed to evaluate the wood deterioration of four North Tunisian fast-growing eucalypts species (Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus saligna, Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Eucalyptus gomphocephala) exposed to basidiomycetes (Coniophora puteana and Trametes versicolor) and termites (Reticulitermes flavipes) attacks. Among the four Eucalyptus woods, Eucalyptus gomphocephala presents the highest decay and termite resistance. In addition, it results that the four Eucalyptus wood species are classified as very durable against fungi degradation (Durability class 1) and durable against termite attacks (Visual rating 1), expect for the Eucalyptus saligna which is classified as sensible against termites (Visual rating 3). These natural durability variations according to the wood species have been explained by extractives GC-MS analyses. The natural durability of Eucalyptus seems to be mainly caused by extractives, and a wide range of compounds are involved. But, it appears that it is mostly governed by gallic acid, fatty acid glycerides, fatty acid esters, phenolic compounds, sitosterol, catechin and quercetin.To conclude, Eucalyptus maidenii, Eucalyptus saligna, Eucalyptus camaldulensis and Eucalyptus gomphocephala woods could be used as material sources to improve the economy of the wood sector in Tunisia

Keywords: density, extractive composition, GC-MS, fungal resistance, termite sensitivity, tunisian Eucalyptus sp.

Conference: 19-05-12/16 Quebec City, Canada

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