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Identification of birch pollen species using FTIR spectroscopy

Joanna Depciuch, Idalia Kasprzyk, Elzbieta Drzymała, Magdalena Parlinska-Wojtan
Aerobiologia 2018 v.34 no.4 pp. 525-538
Betula maximowicziana, Betula pendula, Betula pubescens, Betula utilis, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, chemical composition, light microscopy, pollen, scanning electron microscopy
In this study, the morphology and chemical composition of pollen grains of six birch species (Betula utilis Doorenbos, B. dahurica, B. maximowicziana, B. pendula, B. pubescens and B. humilis) were examined to verify which of these features allow distinguishing them in a more unambiguous way. For this purpose, scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy, as well as Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and curve-fitting analysis of amide I profile, were performed. The microscopy images show that the pollen grains of B. pubescens, B. pendula and B. humilis are similar in diameter and significantly smaller than those of others species, with the largest diameter observed for B. utilis Doorenbos. However, the results obtained from FTIR spectroscopy indicate that the chemical compositions of B. pubescens and B. pendula are similar, but B. humilis is outlaying. Summarizing, it is not possible to unambiguously state, which feature or which technique is the best for differentiating between the six chosen birch species. However, the study showed that both techniques have potential for identification of birch pollen species.