Role of cellulose microfibrils growth stress generation(Clair et al, 2006)

A change in cellulose lattice spacing can be detected during the release of wood maturation stress by synchrotron x-ray diffraction experiment. The lattice strain was found to be the same order of magnitude as the macroscopic strain. The fiber repeat distance, 1.033 nm evaluated for tension wood after the release of maturation stress was equal to the conventional wood values, whereas the value before stress release was larger, corresponding to a fiber repeat of 1.035 nm, nearly equal to that of cotton and ramie. Interestingly, the fiber repeat varied from 1.033 nm for wood to 1.040 nm for algal cellulose, with an increasing order of lateral size of cellulose microfibrils so far reported. These lines of experiments demonstrate that, before the stress release, the cellulose was in a state of tension, which is, to our knowledge, the first experimental evidence supporting the assumption that tension is induced in cellulose microfibrils.

A snap shot at the release of growth stress (top left) and its schematic representation (top right). Experimental setup at BL40XU, SPring8, Harima(bottom left). 0.1% shrinkage of the fiber repeat of cellulose at the release of growth stress was detected(bottom right)