Anatomical wood cell analysis is an alternative to wood density analysis with x-rays (as done with WinDENDRO). Wood density, color, mechanical and chemical properties are in effect related to wood structure which in turns is related to climate. By measuring the radial cells (tracheids) size, distribution and their proportion to walls, wood quality can be assessed.
WinCELL measures wood cell morphology on thin wood slices cut with a microtome or, for larger cells like earlywood vessels of deciduous species, directly on wood surfaces*. Wood cells morphological data can be measured per annual ring in one or more images per ring with the aid of XLCell, a companion program for data post-processing and visualization.
Image analysers not made specifically for wood cells measurement are not usually able to produce data suited for dendrochronology studies. These systems lack some knowledge about annual tree rings formation and the structure of their cells (to compute the ring width for example) so they don't know how measurements are done in this field. WinCELL has this kind of know-how built-in. It knows, for example, that a wall between two adjacent cells must be split in two to compute the cells length and earlywood or ring width. Its versatile settings allow to analyse different wood species (vessels of deciduous and radial row of conifer tracheids). It supports different automatic and interactive analysis modes. The latter allows you to select rows of cells to analyse them in a way that mimics the traditional trachedoid** method. WinCELL handles incomplete cells, those truncated by image boundary, so that they have no effects on the average cell measurements.
*With proper image acquisition device and sample preparation.
**Tracheidograms are curves of radial cell size variations in function of position in an annual ring.