The chemistry and bioactivity of various heartwood extracts from redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) against two species of fungi
New Zealand Journal of Forestry Science
Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.) (redwood) has the potential to be grown in New Zealand in commercial forestry operations and is valued for its naturally durable heartwood. A viable redwood industry based on planted forests can only be achieved if the timber produced meets quality expectations, in particular durability. Natural durability is highly variable among trees. Also, a within-tree pattern of low durability close to the pith has been observed. Natural durability is preliminarily
... s preliminarily caused by secondary metabolites deposited into the cell walls during heartwood formation. The exact nature of the compounds responsible for natural durability in redwood is unknown. Methods: Samples of heartwood from 22 different trees were obtained, ground and extracted using a range of solvents. The ability of some of these extracts to reduce the growth of two fungi (Gloeophyllum trabeum and Trametes versicolor) was tested in vitro. Information on the composition of the extracts was obtained using infrared spectroscopy and gas chromatography. Results: Fungicidal properties were found in solvent extracts of ground S. sempervirens heartwood samples at concentrations comparable to those known to be present in intact wood. The entire acetone-soluble extracts and ethyl-acetate-soluble fraction of the ethanol extracts caused the greatest reduction in the growth of both fungi tested. Large variations in acetone-soluble or ethanol-soluble extract content and fungicidal activity among trees were found. Agatharesinol and sequerin-C appear to be trace compounds in the dried extracts of S. sempervirens. Conclusions: Further work is needed to identify the key compounds contributing to the natural durability of S. sempervirens.