POTENTIAL UTILIZATION OF Blighia sapida K. Koenig WOOD AS EXPLAINED BY SELECTED ANATOMICAL PROPERTIES
AbstractThe wood of Blighia sapida when its anatomical properties are known could serve as an alternative for the exorbitant economic timber species. However, there is little information provided on the anatomical properties of the lesser-used species which could trigger its optimum utilization and wide range acceptability by timber marketers and end-users. There is, therefore, the need to evaluate the anatomical properties of the wood species. Three Blighia sapida trees were selected and felled. Wood discs were obtained at the base, middle, and top of the trees, from which billets of 500 mm long were also obtained from pith to bark and then split into three zones; the innerwood, the middlewood, and the outerwood sections. By the specified standard for the anatomical property tests (Fibre length, Fibre diameter, Lumen width, and Cell wall thickness which were used for the estimation of derived morphological features; Slenderness coefficient, Flexibility ratio, Runkel ratio, Rigidity coefficient, Form factor, and Muhlsteph ratio as well as vessel length, vessel diameter, and vessel frequency) were all evaluated. B. sapida was found to have thick cell walls which might be a setback to the production of quality paper, but a comparison of the cell wall thickness with that of the pines validated B. sapida wood fibre suitability for the pulp and paper industries if other morphological indices meet up with the requirements for the production of paper. However, the fibre length was short and the mean Runkel ratio, one of the major determinants of a fibrous material's appropriateness for production of quality paper, recorded for B. sapida wood was higher than 1 which makes it not suitable for quality paper production but other fibrous utilisation purposes could be explored, such as the production of intermediate papers that require strength. The species vessel length observed was within the category of short length vessels and vessel diameter was within the category of medium vessels, which is an indication that the wood will be denser, thereby having considerable mechanical strength that compared well with other economic timbers species, which could be used for medium to heavy construction works and the use of fillers will not also be employed to produce smooth the surface of quality paper during production.