Inorganic compounds in the marine borer resistant timber turpentine (Syncarpia glomulifera)

Philip D. Evans*, Hiroshi Matsunaga, Dengcheng Feng, Michael Turner, Richard W. Henley, Cameron M. Kewish

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Turpentine wood is renowned for its resistance to attack by molluskan marine borers. This resistance is thought to be due to its high silica content, and possibly the presence of other, as yet unknown, compounds. Silica in turpentine wood is present as particles in rays, but in many plant species silica also occurs in cell walls. We hypothesized that Si is present in cell walls of turpentine, but when we tested this hypothesis using synchrotron XFM, we serendipitously observed several biocidal heavy metals in its heartwood. We found that turpentine heartwood contains a far greater diversity of these and other metals than previously thought. The concentrations of some of the heavy metals collectively reach levels previously shown to be toxic in vitro to the embryos and larvae of mollusks. This paper focuses on these inorganic components of turpentine wood and discusses their possible contribution to its marine borer resistance.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)185-197
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Wood Chemistry and Technology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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