Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Relationship of Tectoquinone to Durability in Tectona grandis


THE heartwood of teak (Tectona grandis L.f.) is extremely resistant to attack by insects or by fungi; but the reasons for this resistance are not known. It is usually ascribed to the presence of toxic substances, and it has been suggested that tectoquinone (β-methyl anthraquinone), which is characteristically present in teak heartwood, may be responsible. Wolcott1 has shown this substance to be highly repellent to the dry-wood termite Cryptotermes brevis (Walker), and Sandermann and Dietrichs2 have demonstrated its toxicity, in high concentrations, to the North American subterranean termite Reticulitermes flavipes Kol. No reference seems to have been made to its toxicity to fungi. In current investigations into the chemical basis of the durability of teak, we have examined the amount of tectoquinone in teak from Thailand and Indonesia, and its toxicity to decay fungi and to subterranean termites.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1

    Wolcott, G. N., J. Agric. Univ. Puerto Rico, 39, 115 (1955).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Sandermann, W., and Dietrichs, H. H., Holz als Roh-und Werkstoff, 15, 281 (1957).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Fewster, M. E., and Hall, D. A., Nature, 168, 78 (1951).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Kafuku, K., and Sebe, K., Bull. Chem. Soc. Japan, 7, 114 (1932).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Da Costa, E. W. B., Aplin, T. E. H., and Tamblyn, N., “The Comparative Resistance to Decay of Eight Australian Timbers under Different Conditions of Testing”, Division of Forest Products, C.S.I.R.O., Melbourne. Project P.13-5, Prog. Rep. No. 1 (Nov., 1957).

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Gay, F. J., Greaves, T., Holdaway, F. G., and Wetherly, A. H., “Standard Laboratory Colonies of Termites for Evaluating the Resistance of Timber Preservatives and Other Materials to Termite Attack”, Bull. No. 277 (C.S.I.R.O., Melbourne, 1955).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Da Costa, E. W. B., and Rudman, P., Aust. J. Biol. Sci. (in the press).

Download references

Author information



Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

RUDMAN, P., DA COSTA, E., GAY, F. et al. Relationship of Tectoquinone to Durability in Tectona grandis . Nature 181, 721–722 (1958).

Download citation

Further reading


By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing