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Toxic hazard and chemical analysis of leachates from furfurylated wood

Authors

  • Annica Pilgård,

    Corresponding author
    1. SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Department of Building and Mechanics, Brinellgatan 4, SE-501 15 Borås, Sweden
    • SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Department of Building and Mechanics, Brinellgatan 4, SE-501 15 Borås, Sweden.
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  • Andreas Treu,

    1. Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute, Section Wood Technology, P.O. Box 115, NO-1431 Ås, Norway
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  • Albert N.T. van Zeeland,

    1. Wageningen University, Food and Biobased Research, Biobased Products, P.O. Box 17, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Richard J.A. Gosselink,

    1. Wageningen University, Food and Biobased Research, Biobased Products, P.O. Box 17, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Mats Westin

    1. SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Department of Building and Mechanics, Brinellgatan 4, SE-501 15 Borås, Sweden
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Abstract

The furfurylation process is an extensively investigated wood modification process. Furfuryl alcohol molecules penetrate into the wood cell wall and polymerize in situ. This results in a permanent swelling of the wood cell walls. It is unclear whether or not chemical bonds exist between the furfuryl alcohol polymer and the wood. In the present study, five different wood species were used, both hardwoods and softwoods. They were treated with three different furfurylation procedures and leached according to three different leaching methods. The present study shows that, in general, the leachates from furfurylated wood have low toxicity. It also shows that the choice of leaching method is decisive for the outcome of the toxicity results. Earlier studies have shown that leachates from wood treated with furfuryl alcohol prepolymers have higher toxicity to Vibrio fischeri than leachates from wood treated with furfuryl alcohol monomers. This is probably attributable to differences in leaching of chemical compounds. The present study shows that this difference in the toxicity most likely cannot be attributed to maleic acid, furan, furfural, furfuryl alcohol, or 2-furoic acid. However, the difference might be caused by the two substances 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and 2,5-furandimethanol. The present study found no difference in the amount of leached furfuryl alcohol between leachates from furfurylated softwood and furfurylated hardwood species. Earlier studies have indicated differences in grafting of furfuryl alcohol to lignin. However, nothing was found in the present study that could support this. The leachates of furfurylated wood still need to be investigated further to identify the chemical differences between wood furfurylated with furfuryl alcohol monomers and furfuryl alcohol prepolymers. Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 2010;29:1918–1924. © 2010 SETAC

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