Basic density, extractive content and moisture sorption properties of Pinus pinaster wood infected with the pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus.
The pinewood nematode (PWN), Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, has become one of the most severe threats to pine forest worldwide. Nematodes, migrating through resin canals and feeding on the living cells, induce rapid metabolic changes in ray parenchyma cells, create cavitation areas, decrease xylem water content and oleoresin exudation, and cause necrosis of parenchyma and cambial cells. This study focused on the impact of PWN infection on technological parameters of wood and evaluated the impact of anatomic and biochemical incidences of tree defense reactions on basic density, extractive content and moisture sorption properties of Pinus pinaster wood. Samples of infected and uninfected wood were studied. The presence of nematodes reduced wood basic density by 2% and decreased the total content of extractives in infected wood as compared with uninfected (5.98 and 8.90% of dry wood mass, respectively). Extractives in infected trees had inverse distribution along the trunk as compared with uninfected trees. The adsorption isotherms for infected and uninfected wood had similar positioning. We recorded differences (some statistically significant) in the equilibrium moisture content of infected and uninfected wood under varying environmental conditions. Despite the verified differences in wood basic density, extractive content and moisture sorption properties, the overall conclusion is that the PWN had a slight impact on these characteristics of wood.