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Changes in spore chemistry and appearance with increasing maturity

Fraser, Wesley T.; Watson, Jonathan S.; Sephton, Mark A.; Lomax, Barry H.; Harrington, Guy; Gosling, William D. and Self, Stephen (2014). Changes in spore chemistry and appearance with increasing maturity. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 201 pp. 41–46.

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Sporopollenin is the primary biopolymer found in the walls of pollen and spores; during maturation sporopollenin undergoes a number of discrete chemical changes, despite maintaining identifiable morphological features which can be exploited for palynological study. Here we report the results of heating experiments performed using Lycopodium clavatum spores designed to investigate the changes that occur within sporopollenin across a wide range of temperatures (0–350 °C) to simulate different degrees of maturation. Changes in sporopollenin functionality were assessed using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy. Our analyses show that the chemical structure of sporopollenin remains relatively stable over a wide range of simulated maturation conditions, until a threshold of 250–300 °C is reached, at which point a reorganisation of chemical structure begins. Comparison of these artificially matured sporeswith fossil material obtained froma Carboniferous-age section in the United Kingdom shows a strong chemical resemblance, suggesting that our experimental procedure accurately reflects the process of maturation and provides an insight into the chemical stability of sporopollenin in the geosphere.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2013 Elsevier B.V.
ISSN: 0034-6667
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNER/A/S/2002/00865NERC (Natural Environment Research Council)
Early Career FellowshipECF/2006/0492Leverhulme Trust
Not SetNot SetCASE
Extra Information: Research was undertaken by Fraser as part of PhD project at The OU
Keywords: sporopollenin; thermal maturation; palynology; palynomorph; spore; heating
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Item ID: 39120
Depositing User: William Gosling
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2013 09:51
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 10:20
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