Technology - Identifying Wood Species from Chemical Signature

Identifying Wood Species from Chemical Signature

Quickly identifies wood species, both in the form of a log or as a product made from wood.


Currently, there are very strict national and international laws governing the buying and selling of wood and wood-based products. These laws are designed to curtail illegal trade in endangered tree species. However, it can be exceedingly difficult to identify wood species based on a visual inspection of the log or finished product. Nevertheless, the onus is on wood and wood product buyers and sellers to prove that their supply chains do not involve illegally traded wood. To do so, they must provide the results of species determination analysis. When done by conventional methods, this is a time-consuming process that takes weeks or even months. It also requires a fairly large sample, is very expensive, and can be inaccurate. 

Technology Overview:

This technology rapidly identifies wood species by statistical analysis processing of the chemical profiles of plants. This data is acquired via real time-high resolution mass spectrometry. When machine learning tools are applied to the data, the database can be used to determine the species identity of unknown plant material (logs, timber, finished goods, etc.). Unlike species identification processes using conventional methods, this technology requires only very small samples (about the size of a match-stick head) and produces results in under a minute. Samples are analyzed directly with no pre-treatment required, so they can be tested in their native form. Results are more accurate (>90% probability) than are available by conventional methods.


•    Fast (identifies wood species within 15 minutes or less).
•    Requires small sample (comparable to the size of a match-stick head).
•    Inexpensive.
•    Highly accurate (>90%).


The primary application is identifying the species of the wood under examination, in either raw material form (logs or lumber) or in finished wood products such as furniture.

Intellectual Property Summary:

Know-how based
Copyrighted Database

Stage of Development:

TRL 3 - Experimental proof of concept

Licensing Status:

This technology is available for licensing

Licensing Potential:

This technology would be of interest to anyone to whom the identity of wood species is important, including:
•    Lumber importers.
•    Woodworkers.
•    Furniture manufacturers.
•    Government agencies controlling the use of certain wood species.

Patent Information: