Genomic selection (GS) can increase genetic gain by reducing the length of breeding cycle in forest trees. Here we genotyped 1370 control-pollinated progeny trees from 128 full-sib families in Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.), using exome capture as genotyping platform. We used 116,765 high-quality SNPs to develop genomic prediction models for tree height and wood quality traits. We assessed the impact of different genomic prediction methods, genotype-by-environment interaction (G?×?E), genetic composition, size of the training and validation set, relatedness, and number of SNPs on accuracy and predictive ability (PA) of GS.
Using G matrix slightly altered heritability estimates relative to pedigree-based method. GS accuracies were about 11-14% lower than those based on pedigree-based selection. The efficiency of GS per year varied from 1.71 to 1.78, compared to that of the pedigree-based model if breeding cycle length was halved using GS. Height GS accuracy decreased to more than 30% while using one site as training for GS prediction and using this model to predict the second site, indicating that G?×?E for tree height should be accommodated in model fitting. Using a half-sib family structure instead of full-sib structure led to a significant reduction in GS accuracy and PA. The full-sib family structure needed only 750 markers to reach similar accuracy and PA, as compared to 100,000 markers required for the half-sib family, indicating that maintaining the high relatedness in the model improves accuracy and PA. Using 4000-8000 markers in full-sib family structure was sufficient to obtain GS model accuracy and PA for tree height and wood quality traits, almost equivalent to that obtained with all markers.
The study indicates that GS would be efficient in reducing generation time of breeding cycle in conifer tree breeding program that requires long-term progeny testing. The sufficient number of trees within-family (16 for growth and 12 for wood quality traits) and number of SNPs (8000) are required for GS with full-sib family relationship. GS methods had little impact on GS efficiency for growth and wood quality traits. GS model should incorporate G?×?E effect when a strong G?×?E is detected.
Determination of the source and form of metals in house dust is important to those working to understand human and particularly childhood exposure to metals in residential environments. We report the development of a synchrotron microprobe technique for characterization of multiple metal hosts in house dust. We have applied X-ray fluorescence for chemical characterization and X-ray diffraction for crystal structure identification using microfocused synchrotron X-rays at a less than 10 µm spot size. The technique has been evaluated by application to archived house dust samples containing elevated concentrations of Pb, Zn, and Ba in bedroom dust, and Pb and As in living room dust. The technique was also applied to a sample of soil from the corresponding garden to identify linkages between indoor and outdoor sources of metals. Paint pigments including white lead (hydrocerussite) and lithopone (wurtzite and barite) are the primary source of Pb, Zn, and Ba in bedroom dust, probably related to renovation activity in the home at the time of sampling. The much lower Pb content in the living room dust shows a relationship to the exterior soil and no specific evidence of Pb and Zn from the bedroom paint pigments. The technique was also successful at confirming the presence of chromated copper arsenate treated wood as a source of As in the living room dust. The results of the study have confirmed the utility of this approach in identifying specific metal forms within the dust.
At a time when the focus is on global warming, CO(2) emission, secure energy supply, and less consumption of fossil-based fuels, the use of renewable energy resources is essential. Various biomass resources are discussed that can deliver fuels, chemicals, and energy products. The focus is on the catalytic conversion of biomass from wood. The challenges involved in the processing of lignocellulose-rich materials will be highlighted, along with the application of porous materials as catalysts for the biomass-to-liquids (BTL) fuels in biorefineries. The mechanistic understanding of the complex reactions that take place, the development of catalysts and processes, and the product spectrum that is envisaged will be discussed, along with a sustainable concept for biorefineries based on lignocellulose. Finally, the current situation with respect to upgrading of the process technology (pilot and commercial units) will be addressed.
Globally 40-70 Pg of carbon (C) are stored in coarse woody debris on the forest floor. Climate change may reduce the function of this stock as a C sink in the future due to increasing temperature. However, current knowledge on the drivers of wood decomposition is inadequate for detailed predictions. To define the factors that control wood respiration rate of Norway spruce and to produce a model that adequately describes the decomposition process of this species as a function of time, we used an unprecedentedly diverse analytical approach, which included measurements of respiration, fungal community sequencing, N2 fixation rate, nifH copy number, 14 C-dating as well as N%, d13 C and C% values of wood. Our results suggest that climate change will accelerate C flux from deadwood in boreal conditions, due to the observed strong temperature dependency of deadwood respiration. At the research site, the annual C flux from deadwood would increase by 27% from the current 117 g C/kg wood with the projected climate warming (RCP4.5). The second most important control on respiration rate was the stage of wood decomposition; at early stages of decomposition low nitrogen content and low wood moisture limited fungal activity while reduced wood resource quality decreased the respiration rate at the final stages of decomposition. Wood decomposition process was best described by a Sigmoidal model, where after 116 years of wood decomposition mass loss of 95% was reached. Our results on deadwood decomposition are important for C budget calculations in ecosystem and climate change models. We observed for the first time that the temperature dependency of N2 fixation, which has a major role at providing N for wood-inhabiting fungi, was not constant but varied between wood density classes due to source supply and wood quality. This has significant consequences on projecting N2 fixation rates for deadwood in changing climate.
Up to 20 million tons of waste wood biomass per year is left unused in Finland, mainly in the forests during forestry operations, because supply and demand does not meet. As a consequence of high heat energy prices, the looming threat of climate change, the greenhouse effect, and due to global as well as national demands to considerably increase the proportion of renewable energy, there is currently tremendous enthusiasm in Finland to substantially increase pellet production. As part of this European objective to increase the eco- and cost-efficient utilization of bio-energy from the European forest belt, the aim of our research group is - by means of multidisciplinary research, especially through chemical methods - to promote the development of Nordic wood-based pellet production in both the qualitative and the quantitative sense. Wood-based pellets are classified as an emission-neutral fuel, which means that they are free from emission trading in the European Union. The main fields of pellet research and the chemical toolbox that has been developed for these studies, which includes a new specific staining and optical microscope method designed to determine the cross-linking of pellets in the presence of various binding compounds, are described in this paper. As model examples illustrating the benefits of this toolbox, experimental data is presented concerning Finnish wood pellets and corresponding wood-based pellets that include the use of starch-containing waste potato peel residue and commercial lignosulfonate as binding materials. The initial results concerning the use of the developed and optimized specific staining and microscopic method using starch-containing potato peel residue as binding material are presented.
The urgent need to mitigate climate change invokes both opportunities and challenges for forest biomass utilization. Fossil fuels can be substituted by using wood products in place of alternative materials and energy, but wood harvesting reduces forest carbon sink and processing of wood products requires material and energy inputs. We assessed the extended life cycle carbon emissions considering substitution impacts for various wood utilization scenarios over 100 years from 2010 onward for Finland. The scenarios were based on various but constant wood utilization structures reflecting current and anticipated mix of wood utilization activities. We applied stochastic simulation to deal with the uncertainty in a number of input variables required. According to our analysis, the wood utilization decrease net carbon emissions with a probability lower than 40% for each of the studied scenarios. Furthermore, large emission reductions were exceptionally unlikely. The uncertainty of the results were influenced clearly the most by the reduction in the forest carbon sink. There is a significant trade-off between avoiding emissions through fossil fuel substitution and reduction in forest carbon sink due to wood harvesting. This creates a major challenge for forest management practices and wood utilization activities in responding to ambitious climate change mitigation targets.
Beneficial use of waste relies on efficient systems for collection and separation. In Sweden, a bring system involving recycling centres for collection of bulky, electr(on)ic and hazardous waste has been introduced. A significant share of this waste is incorrectly sorted, causing downstream environmental implications. At present, however, there is a lack of affordable and accurate monitoring methods for providing the recycling centres with the necessary facts for improving the sorting of waste. The aim of this study was therefore to evaluate the usability of a simplified and potentially more suitable waste monitoring method for recycling centres. This method is based on standardised observations where the occurrence of incorrect sorting is monitored by taking digital pictures of the waste which then are analysed according to certain guidelines. The results show that the developed monitoring method could offer a resource-efficient and useful tool for proactive quality work at recycling centres, involving continuous efforts in developing and evaluating measures for improved sorting of waste. More research is however needed in order to determine to what extent the obtained results from the monitoring method are reliable.
Processes for ethanol and biogas (scenario 1) and biomethane (scenario 2) production from pinewood improved by N-methylmorpholine-N-oxide (NMMO) pretreatment were developed and simulated by Aspen plus. These processes were compared with two processes using steam explosion instead of NMMO pretreatment ethanol (scenario 3) and biomethane (scenario 4) production, and the economies of all processes were evaluated by Aspen Process Economic Analyzer. Gasoline equivalent prices of the products including 25% value added tax (VAT) and selling and distribution expenses for scenarios 1 to 4 were, respectively, 1.40, 1.20, 1.24, and 1.04 €/l, which are lower than gasoline price. The profitability indexes for scenarios 1 to 4 were 1.14, 0.93, 1.16, and 0.96, respectively. Despite the lower manufacturing costs of biomethane, the profitability indexes of these processes were lower than those of the bioethanol processes, because of higher capital requirements. The results showed that taxing rule is an effective parameter on the economy of the biofuels. The gasoline equivalent prices of the biofuels were 15-37% lower than gasoline; however, 37% of the gasoline price contributes to energy and carbon dioxide tax which are not included in the prices of biofuels based on the Swedish taxation rules.
Lipophilic low molar-mass constituents in wood chips for the paper industry result in low quality pulp, pitch deposition, and effluent toxicity. New biotechnological solutions such as fungal pre-treatment of wood chips can reduce pitch problems. This laboratory-scale study focuses on the potential and limitations of a fungal bio-treatment of Norway spruce chips with the white-rot fungus Trametes versicolor. Different fungal treatment conditions were compared. A 4-week fungal treatment reduced the concentration of resin acids and triglycerides by 40% and 100%, respectively, but neither lowered the energy requirements of the TMP process nor significantly affected the morphological fiber characteristics and the physical pulp properties. The pre-treatment led to slightly poorer optical properties. The Trametes versicolor fungal treatment contributed to a less toxic effluent and improved the biodegradability. A treatment of 2-3 weeks appears optimal.
The purpose of this study was to measure and evaluate the impact of the emissions of selected products of exotic wood on health. Ten products were screened for chemical compounds, and five of the most used products which emitted more than 800 microg/kg were selected for further quantitative analyses by climate chamber measurement (iroko, ramin, sheesham, merbau, and rubber tree). Samples of exotic wood (rubber tree and belalu) were further analyzed for emission of chemical compounds by migration into artificial saliva and for content of pesticides and allergenic natural rubber latex (NR latex) (rubber tree). The toxicological effects of all substances identified were evaluated and the lowest concentrations of interest (LCI) assessed. An R-value was calculated for each wood product (R-value below 1 is considered to be unproblematic as regards health). Emission from the evaluated exotic wood only took place to a very limited extent. None of the selected products, under the chosen rating system, is likely to cause adverse health effects. Products with surface treatment might pose a problem if used as kitchen utensils, as children's toys, or when they are in close contact with the skin for a long time. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: The authors investigated the chemical emissions from selected products from exotic wood by climate chamber measurement. Quantitative chemical analyses of emissions from the five most used exotic products in Denmark were performed, and all chemical compounds found were evaluated toxicologically. Emission from the evaluated exotic wood was very limited. None of the products is likely, under our exposure conditions, to cause health problems in relation to indoor air.