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Characterization of Pollen by Vibrational Spectroscopy
Volume 64, Number 12 (Dec. 2010) Page 1364-1373
Classification, discrimination, and biochemical assignment of vibrational spectra of pollen samples belonging to 43 different species of the order Pinales has been made using three different vibrational techniques. The comparative study of transmission (KBr pellet) and attenuated total reflection (ATR) Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) and FT-Raman spectroscopies was based on substantial variability of pollen grain size, shape, and relative biochemical composition. Depending on the penetration depth of the probe light, vibrational techniques acquire predominant information either on pollen grain walls (FT-Raman and ATR-FT-IR) or intracellular material (transmission FT-IR). Compared with the other two methods, transmission FT-IR obtains more comprehensive information and as a result achieves superior spectral identification and discrimination of pollen. The results strongly indicate that biochemical similarities of pollen grains belonging to the same plant genus or family lead to similar features in corresponding vibrational spectra. The exploitation of that property in aerobiological monitoring was demonstrated by simple and rapid pollen identification based on relatively small spectral libraries, with the same (or better) taxonomic resolution as that provided by optical microscopy. Therefore, the clear correlation between vibrational spectra and pollen grain morphology, biochemistry, and taxonomy is obtained, while successful pollen identification illustrates the practicability of such an approach in environmental studies.
Index Headings: Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy; FT-IR spectroscopy; FT-Raman spectroscopy; Attenuated total reflection; ATR; Pollen; Aeroallergen; Identification; Classification.