Bacterial biodegradation of extractives and patterns of bordered pit membrane attack in pine wood

T. A. Burnes, R. A. Blanchette, R. L. Farrell

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Wood extractives, commonly referred to as pitch, cause major problems in the manufacturing of pulp and paper. Treatment of nonsterile southern yellow pine chips for 14 days with Pseudomonas fluorescens, Pseudomonas sp., Xanthomonas campestris, and Serratia marcescens reduced wood extractives by as much as 40%. Control treatments receiving only water lost 11% of extractives due to the growth of naturally occurring microorganisms. Control treatments were visually discolored after the 14-day incubation, whereas bacterium-treated wood chips were free of dark staining. Investigations using P. fluorescens NRRL B21432 showed that all individual resin and fatty acid components of the pine wood extractives were substantially reduced. Micromorphological observations showed that bacteria were able to colonize resin canals, ray parenchyma cells, and tracheids. Tracheid pit membranes within bordered pit chambers were degraded after treatment with P. fluorescens NRRL B21432. P. fluorescens and the other bacteria tested appear to have the potential for biological processing to substantially reduce wood extractives in pine wood chips prior to the paper making process so that problems associated with pitch in pulp mills can be controlled.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5201-5205
Number of pages5
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2000


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