De Mil, T., Van den Bulcke, J. [2023] Tree Core Analysis with X-ray Computed Tomography. Journal of Visualized Experiments (199), e65208, doi:10.3791/65208
Abstract : An X-ray computed tomography (CT) toolchain is presented to obtain tree-ring width (TRW), maximum latewood density (MXD), other density parameters, and quantitative wood anatomy (QWA) data without the need for labor-intensive surface treatment or any physical sample preparation. The focus here is on increment cores and scanning procedures at resolutions ranging from 60 μm down to 4 μm. Three scales are defined at which wood should be looked at: (i) inter-ring scale, (ii) ring scale, i.e., tree-ring analysis and densitometry scale, as well as (iii) anatomical scale, the latter approaching the conventional thin-section quality. Custom-designed sample holders for each of these scales enable high-throughput scanning of multiple increment cores. A series of software routines were specifically developed to efficiently treat threedimensional X-ray CT images of the tree cores for TRW and densitometry. This work briefly explains the basic principles of CT, which are needed for a proper understanding of the protocol. The protocol is presented for some known species that are commonly used in dendrochronology. The combination of rough density estimates, TRW and MXD data, as well as quantitative anatomy data, allows us to broaden and deepen current analyses for climate reconstructions or tree response, as well as further develop the field of dendroecology/climatology and archeology.


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