Development of a proxy for past surface UV-B irradiation: A thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation py-GC/MS method for the analysis of pollen and spores

Peter Blokker, Dan Yeloff, Peter Boelen, Rob A Broekman, Jelte Rozema

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A method was developed for the analysis of the UV-absorbing sporopollenin monomers p-coumaric acid and ferulic acid in very low numbers of pollen. This enables the analysis of pollen or spores from cultured plants, from herbarium collections, and from sediment, soil, and peat cores. The method involves thermally assisted hydrolysis and methylation using tetramethylammonium hydroxide combined with gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Pyrolysis, gas chromatographic, and mass spectrometric conditions were optimized for the analysis of minimal amounts of pollen. The method has a detection limit of approximately 60 fresh pollen of Alnus glutinosa and a relative standard deviation of approximately 10% between 100 and 600 pollen.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6026-6031
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 15-Sep-2005


  • Alnus
  • Chromatography, Gas
  • Hydrolysis
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Methylation
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Pollen
  • Seeds
  • Spores
  • Temperature
  • Ultraviolet Rays

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