Analysis of the mechanical properties of wood attacked by Xylotrechus arvicola (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) larvae, and its influence on the structural properties of the plant
Xylotrechus arvicola is an invasive insect on Vitis vinifera in the main wine-producing regions of the Iberian Peninsula. X. arvicola larvae bore into the grapevine wood and make galleries, which cause structural damages to the plant. The aim of this study was to investigate how grapevine wood infested by larvae affects the mechanical properties of the plant in comparation with those of uninfested wood. Samples of grapevine wood uninfested and infested by larvae were collected from vineyards. Compression and flexural strengths as well as simulated structures of grapevine wood in field, in relation to harvest weight by variety, were used to quantify the wood mechanical properties. Infested wood endured a lower strength and normal tension, and exhibited a reduction in the structural capacities in the simulation of harvest weight of 'Cabernet-Sauvignon' variety (up to 62.0 %). 'Tempranillo' (despite its high mechanical slenderness values) and 'Cabernet-Sauvignon', were the varieties that showed a higher resistance on trunks and branches, respectively. A lower bending moment was observed on the infested branches of all varieties. Changes in the mechanical properties of infested wood suggest a decrease in mechanical resistance of wood attacked by larvae that could contribute to the rupture of the infested grapevine over time. Grapevine wood attacked by X. arvicola larvae could be more sensitive to mechanical external factors in vineyards such as strong winds, harvest weight and vibration exerted by harvesting machines.
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