Ultrastructural and TEM-EDAX studies on the degradation of CCA treated radiata pine by tunnelling bacteria
G F Daniel, T Nilsson
An ultrastructural study was carried out on bacterial attacked Pinus radiata stakes treated with a high level (24.7 kg/m³) of Tanalith NCA preservative. The purpose of the investigation was to determine whether the organism possessed intracellular and/or extracellular detoxification mechanisms in order to overcome the high levels of copper, chrome and arsenic present within the wood fibre walls. Correlated T.E.M. and T.E.M.-EDAX studies showed most of the preservative elements to remain outside the bacteria associated with bacterial tunnel wall and cross-wall extracellular secretions. T.E.M.-EDAX showed the levels of preservative elements present in the tunnel walls and cross walls to often greatly exceel that recorded in neighbouring S2 cell wall regions, while studies on the bacteria showed that only copper and very low levels of chromium and arsenic had entered the cells. Observations suggested that the metals found within the cells were associated with electron-dense deposits or inclusions within the nuclear region or cell cytoplasm, the deposits often containing high levels of phosphorus and calcium together with lesser levels of other cations. The study also provided evidence for the direct visualisation of CCA preservative elements within fibre walls using T.E.M. without any form of secondary chemical enhancing, and in addition, considerable new information on the nature and structure of the single celled, Gram-negative, motile bacteria involved in the decay.