Study of the variability in chemical composition of bark layers of Quercus Suber L. from different production areas

Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree (Quercus suber L), a renewable and biodegradable raw bioresource concentrated mainly in the Mediterranean region. Development of its potential uses as a biosorbent will require the investigation of its chemical composition; such information can be of help to understand its interactions with organic pollutants. The present study investigates the summative chemical composition of three bark layers (back, cork, and belly) of five Spanish cork samples and one cork sample from Portugal. Suberin was the main component in all the samples (21.1 to 53.1%), followed by lignin (14.8 to 31%), holocellulose (2.3 to 33.6%), extractives (7.3 to 20.4%), and ash (0.4 to 3.3%). The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to determine whether the variations in chemical composition with respect to the production area and bark layers were significant. The results indicate that, with respect to the bark layer, significant differences were found only for suberin and holocellulose contents: they were higher in the belly and cork than in the back. Based on the results presented, cork is a material with a lot of potential because of its heterogeneity in chemical composition ​
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