Wood collections or xylaria can be considered sleeping beauties in terms of scientific progress. Although there are vast opportunities for advancement, they are currently not in proportion to ongoing research projects, stresses Dr. Deklerck. His dissertation takes a closer look at the potential of xylaria for timber species identification (Chapter 1 and 2), for provenancing (Chapter 3) and to derive information on wood technological properties to discover lesser-known/used species (Chapter 4 and 5). More specifically, samples from the wood collection of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren, Belgium) are used. The Tervuren Wood Collection has over 80,000 wood specimens, comprising more than 13,000 species. The collection mainly consists of species from Central Africa but wood specimens from other geographical regions are present as well.
Due to overlogging of highly valued timber species, certain protection measures (for example CITES) as well as import/export regulations are put in place to protect these species from extinction. To enforce timber regulations, applicable timber identification and provenancing techniques combined with robust reference databases are needed. Direct Analysis in Real Time Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (DART TOFMS) for timber identification gained a lot of traction in recent years, and rightly so. The technique is fast, accurate and allows for versatile sampling (only a wood sliver is needed). Xylaria offer the perfect opportunity to strengthen the DART TOFMS reference database and to explore more in depth analysis (Deklerck, 2019).
Congratulations to Victor!
Reference: Deklerck V (2019). National treasure: valorisation of the Federal Xylarium of Belgium for timber identification and wood technology. PhD Thesis, Ghent University, Belgium.
For more information, please contact: Victor Deklerck victor.deklerck(at)ugent.be or via ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Victor_Deklerck