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Termite response to Agricultural Fiber Composites: Bagasse
2005 - IRG/WP 05-10549
Bagasse, or sugarcane rind, is a fibrous by-product of sugar extraction from sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum L. Bagasse fiber performs similarly to hardwood fiber in composite board products. In laboratory studies, Formosan subterranean termites survived as well on a diet of Bagasse as on Douglas-fir wood. Field tests with a compressed Bagasse panel (produced by heat extrusion) indicated that termites readily penetrated the acrylic/vinyl latex coating on the panel, and tunnelled throughout the interior Bagasse fibers. Treatment of the fibers with disodium octaborate tetrahydrate did not prevent the termite penetration of the panel exterior. Subsequent moisture sorption by the fibers led to rapid swelling and deformation of the panels. A dimensionally stable, high density Bagasse particleboard was also evaluated in laboratory tests. No swelling was noted, although the particleboard was readily penetrated and consumed by Formosan subterranean termites, and mold growth was also noted on the test wafers. In recent years, high-profile Bagasse board production facilities were opened in both Louisiana and Hawaii, only to close shortly thereafter. Bagasse may have more market potential in a value-added, preservative treated product than as a low-end commodity competing with comparable wood products.
J K Grace

Preliminary investigation on the natural durability of Guayule (Parthenium argentatum)-based wood products
2000 - IRG/WP 00-40154
Conventional preservatives used to protect wood from insect and microbial damages are presently of major concern to human health and the environment. Finding alternative and economical preservatives has not been successful. Previous studies have shown that the resinous material extracted from the guayule plant (Parthenium argentatum, Gray) has both insect- and microbial-resistant properties. Unfortunately, it has not been accepted commercially because of the lack of an adequate supply of the raw material. However, the potential domestication of the guayule plant to produce hypoallergenic rubber latex will result in the production of large amounts of waste wood material. This should provide opportunity to use this natural source of the biologically resistant resinous chemicals. The objective of this preliminary study was to determine the effects of the rubber latex-removed wood residues or bagasse and the resinous extracts on termite- and decay-resistant properties. Two types of test materials were used in the study. One was wood impregnated with organic-solvent extracted resinous material from the plant. The other was composite wood fabricated using the residue or whole plant and plastic binder, which was used to improve the physical properties of the composite. Accelerated laboratory tests were conducted to determine the resistance of the wood products against the Eastern subterranean termite and wood fungi (brown-rot). The wood and stem of the guayule plant, wood treated with the resinous extract, and particle and composite wood made from ground guayule exhibited termite and wood fungal resistance.
F S Nakayama, P Chow, D S Bajwa, J A Youngquist, J H Muehl, A M Krzysik

Eco-Friendly Composites from Bagasse and Soy-based Resin
2009 - IRG/WP 09-40462
In this study, bagasse and soy-based resin were used for producing composite materials. The objective of this study was evaluation of some physical and mechanical properties of boards made of various ratios (100:0, 60:40, 40:60 and 0:100) of bagasse to wood fiber mixtures (wt: wt) with addition of Soy/PF resin at three levels (4, 8 and 10%) and 1.5% wax. All properties were tested according to ASTM D-1037 and all data were analyzed statistically. The results showed that by increasing bagasse fibers all properties of boards were deteriorated but by addition of 10% soy/PF resin all of them were improved significantly. Boards made of 40:60 ratio of bagasse to wood fiber mixtures and 10% Soy/PF resin content have acceptable bending strength and those are made of 100% bagasse and 10% Soy/PF resin content meet the requirements set for internal bond strength of the ANSI 208.2-1994 for interior uses.
G Rassam, B Jamnani

Chemical composition and performances of slow pyrolysis by-product from sugarcane bagasse for wood protection
2020 - IRG/WP 20-30752
Pyrolysis distillate or bio-oil, a by-product of biomasses’ slow pyrolysis in the char-making process, has been traditionally used as bio-pesticides by Asian farmers. Due to its large composition of bio-active chemicals, bio-oil obtained from various biomass has become of interest in many applications, including wood protectants. This study aims to characterize the chemical composition of bio-oil obtained from the slow pyrolysis of sugarcane bagasse at the temperatures of 400 °C and 500 °C, along with the efficacy test against two Basidiomycete fungi (Coniophora puteana, a cubic rot, and Trametes versicolor, a fibrous rot) and subterranean termites (Reticulitermes flavipes). The test on wood was also conducted by impregnating the bio-oil to the beech wood samples. Treated samples were dried at various temperatures (ambient, 40°C, 60°C, 80°C and 103°C), and leached before being exposed to termites R. flavipes. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis revealed that bio-oil is composed mainly of oxygenated compounds such as carboxylic acids, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, furans, and anhydrosugars. In contrast, about 40% of the bio-oil consisted of water. At the concentration of 0.25% (v/v), bio-oil were observed to be able to inhibit the growth of both Basidiomycete fungi, when performing inhibition growth tests in Petri dishes. Further, no termites survived when exposed to a filter paper with a 10% concentration of bio-oil. All the wood samples have been shown durable against R. flavipes. However, bio-oil remains leachable from the wood, which indicates that future studies should be conducted in order to find out how to decrease its leachability.
F D Boer, M-F Thévenon, J-M Commandre, M Fournier