IAWA 336 Journal, Vol. 29 (3), 2008: 336338 IAWA Journal, Vol. 29 (3), 2008 Short Note Thomas Nilsson1 and René K.W.M. Klaassen 2 Comments on the paper by Cufar et al. 2008, "Anatomy, cell wall structure and topochemistry of water-logged archaeological wood aged 5,200 and 4,500 years" in IAWA Journal 29 (1), pp. 5568. In this paper the authors describe and illustrate extensive cell wall degradation in old ash and oak wood buried in water-logged conditions for a long time. A typical feature was that the middle lamella appeared structurally intact, a feature that excludes pre-burial attack by white rot fungi. The authors concluded that the degraded "structures of the samples are consistent with abiotic rather than bacterial degradation". This conclusion was based on the fact that their light and electron microscopic analyses showed no evidence of bacterial decay. We are convinced that most of the extensive degradation described has been caused by bacteria. Before the 1990s it was commonly assumed that the degradation observed in wood after a long time in water-logged condition was due to hydrolysis (Hoffmann & Jones 1990). However, no facts supporting this assumption have been presented. As far as we know there are
IAWA Journal – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2008
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