Recent advances in infrared spectroscopy applied to single specimen dinoflagellate cysts: methodological framework and applications

Pjotr Meyvisch, Pieter Roger Gurdebeke, Henk Vrielinck, Kenneth Neil Mertens, Gerard Versteegh, Katarzyna Sliwinska, Stephen Louwye

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract in proceedings


    Fourier-transformed infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is a spectrochemical technique able to retrieve macromolecular information from organic materials. When combined with a microscope (micro-FTIR), the (geo)chemical composition of single specimen dinoflagellate cysts (dinocysts) can be determined. Over the last decades a small number of dinocyst micro-FTIR studies booked often inconsistent results by overlooking important methodological aspects during analysis. This study takes into account variables like sample preparation, specimen morphology and size and spectral data processing steps and presents a standardized method based on attenuated total reflectance (ATR) micro-FTIR spectroscopy which is able to collect robust spectral datasets. These datasets are largely devoid of nonchemical artifacts inherent to other infrared spectrochemical methods which have typically been used in similar studies in the past (i.e. transmission and transflection spectroscopy). Several guidelines are proposed which facilitate the collection and qualitative interpretation of highly reproducible and repeatable spectrochemical dinocyst data. These, in turn, pave the way for a systematic exploration of dinocyst chemistry and its assessment as a chemotaxonomical tool or proxy. An ATR micro-FTIR case study on morphologically similar late Paleogene to early Neogene dinocysts Palaeocystodinium golzowense, Svalbardella clausii and Svalbardella cooksoniae is also presented, which highlights the chemotaxonomical potential of the method.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGeosciences made in Belgium
    Subtitle of host publicationConference program & abstract book
    EditorsDamien Delvaux, Olivier Dewitte, Max Fernandez-Alonso, Aurelia Hubert-Ferrari, Jan Elsen
    Place of PublicationBruxelles
    PublisherGeologica Belgica
    Number of pages1
    ISBN (Print)978-2-9601402-3-1
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
    Event7th International Geologica Belgica Meeting: Geosciences made in Belgium - AfricaMuseum, Tervuren, Belgium
    Duration: 15 Sept 202117 Sept 2021
    Conference number: 7th

    Publication series

    NameGeologica Belgica Conference Proceedings
    PublisherGeologica Belgica
    ISSN (Electronic)2593-6670


    Conference7th International Geologica Belgica Meeting

    Programme Area

    • Programme Area 5: Nature and Climate


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