The Art of Agarwood Production


The agarhout wood of agarwood, also known as oud or agar, is a treasured fragrance and incense product. It has been referred to in the world’s oldest written texts as a highly valued luxury item. In the Sanskrit Vedas it is described as a fragrant incense for offerings to God, and in the Bible the body of Jesus was anointed with a combination of myrrh and agarwood after his death.

The aromatic wood is produced by infection of the Aquilaria tree by a group of fungi called endophytes. These fungi are a natural part of the tree and help to defend the trees from external parasitic fungi and pathogens. The oleoresins produced by these fungi can be extracted and are responsible for the woody aroma of the agarwood. The oleoresins are made up of many different chemical compounds including chromone derivates, terpenoids and various phenolic compounds.

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Agarwood production is an art and requires a great deal of skill. The process of inoculation is crucial. The agarwood is mainly produced from the Aquilaria chinensis, Aquilaria malaccensis and Aquilaria crassna species. Agarwood is a valuable commodity, but the trade must be balanced against the threat of global climate change and loss of biodiversity.

Many induction methods have been developed to increase the yield of agarwood. However, the effectiveness of these methods is not as high as it could be. This is due to the fact that the ability of a plant to respond to induction stimuli depends on its genetic makeup and its intrinsic properties (such as phenotypic characteristics). Recently, techniques have been developed to enhance the induction response of Aquilaria using chemoinducers.

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