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Chemical Fingerprinting of Wood Sampled along a Pith-to-Bark Gradient for Individual Comparison and Provenance Identification

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UGent-Woodlab, Ghent University, Laboratory of Wood Technology, Department of Environment, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
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Service of Wood Biology, Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA), Leuvensesteensweg 13, 3080 Tervuren, Belgium
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U.S. Forest Service International Programs Wood Identification and Screening Center 1490 East Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520, USA
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U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory, 1490 East Main Street, Ashland, OR 97520, USA
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(1), 107; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010107
Received: 18 December 2019 / Revised: 11 January 2020 / Accepted: 13 January 2020 / Published: 15 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wood Science and Tropical Forest Ecology)
Background and Objectives: The origin of traded timber is one of the main questions in the enforcement of regulations to combat the illegal timber trade. Substantial efforts are still needed to develop techniques that can determine the exact geographical provenance of timber and this is vital to counteract the destructive effects of illegal logging, ranging from economical loss to habitat destruction. The potential of chemical fingerprints from pith-to-bark growth rings for individual comparison and geographical provenance determination is explored. Materials and Methods: A wood sliver was sampled per growth ring from four stem disks from four individuals of Pericopsis elata (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and from 14 stem disks from 14 individuals of Terminalia superba (Côte d’Ivoire and Democratic Republic of the Congo). Chemical fingerprints were obtained by analyzing these wood slivers with Direct Analysis in Real Time Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (DART TOFMS). Results: Individual distinction for both species was achieved but the accuracy was dependent on the dataset size and number of individuals included. As this is still experimental, we can only speak of individual comparison and not individual distinction at this point. The prediction accuracy for the country of origin increases with increasing sample number and a random sample can be placed in the correct country. When a complete disk is removed from the training dataset, its rings (samples) are correctly attributed to the country with an accuracy ranging from 43% to 100%. Relative abundances of ions appear to contribute more to differentiation compared to frequency differences. Conclusions: DART TOFMS shows potential for geographical provenancing but is still experimental for individual distinction; more research is needed to make this an established method. Sampling campaigns should focus on sampling tree cores from pith-to-bark, paving the way towards a chemical fingerprint database for species provenance. View Full-Text
Keywords: chemical fingerprint; DART TOFMS; timber; geographical provenancing; Pericopsis elata; Terminalia superba chemical fingerprint; DART TOFMS; timber; geographical provenancing; Pericopsis elata; Terminalia superba
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Deklerck, V.; Lancaster, C.A.; Van Acker, J.; Espinoza, E.O.; Van den Bulcke, J.; Beeckman, H. Chemical Fingerprinting of Wood Sampled along a Pith-to-Bark Gradient for Individual Comparison and Provenance Identification. Forests 2020, 11, 107.

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