Tree adaptation to environment has been extensively studied. However, little is known about the variations in structure and chemical composition of lignocellulosic biomass (LB) in relation to altitudinal gradient. We wonder, are there significant variations in the LB in the wood across an altitudinal gradient? To answer this, we carried out a study of Abies religiosa. Wood samples were collected from 36 trees, grown between 3000 and 3500 masl, and then subjected to gravimetric and FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared) spectroscopic analyses. The gravimetric results showed a proportion of 54.81 ± 2.20 % cellulose, 12.37 ± 1.33 % hemicellulose and 24.68 ± 1.16 % of insoluble lignin. Using the principal components analysis with analysis of variance (ANOVA), significant differences were found at 3100 and 3200 masl in two independent components related to both hemicellulose and lignin, through gravimetry as well as the spectroscopic bands assigned to the carbonyl groups of these polymers, respectively. However, the observed changes in chemical composition of LB did not follow a linear relationship with respect to the altitudinal gradient, which suggests that complex environmental interactions could also be playing an important role. Also, there were significant differences (p < 0.05) in two of the empirical indexes calculated from the FTIR analysis.
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