Relationship of Tectoquinone to Durability in Tectona grandis

Abstract

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.

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References

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

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

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

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    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).

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    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).

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

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RUDMAN, P., DA COSTA, E., GAY, F. et al. Relationship of Tectoquinone to Durability in Tectona grandis . Nature 181, 721–722 (1958). https://doi.org/10.1038/181721b0

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