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Anal Chem. 2005 Sep 15;77(18):6026-31.

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.

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Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, Department of Systems Ecology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam.


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.

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