Service interruption on Monday 11 July from 12:30 to 13:00: all the sites of the CCSD (HAL, EpiSciences, SciencesConf, AureHAL) will be inaccessible (network hardware connection).
Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Sporopollenin chemistry and its durability in the geological record: an integration of extant and fossil chemical data across the seed plants

Abstract : Sporopollenin is a highly resistant biopolymer that forms the outer wall of pollen and spores (sporomorphs). Recent research into sporopollenin chemistry has opened up a range of new avenues for palynological research, including chemotaxonomic classification of morphologically cryptic taxa. However, there have been limited attempts to directly integrate extant and fossil sporopollenin chemical data. Of particular importance is the impact of sample processing to isolate sporopollenin from fresh sporomorphs, and the extent of chemical changes that occur once sporomorphs enter the geological record. Here, we explore these issues using Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy data from extant and fossil grass, Nitraria (a steppe plant), and conifer pollen. We show a 98% classification success rate at subfamily level with extant grass pollen, demonstrating a strong taxonomic signature in isolated sporopollenin. However, we also reveal substantial chemical differences between extant and fossil sporopollenin, which can be tied to both early diagenetic changes acting on the sporomorphs and chemical derivates of sample processing. Our results demonstrate that directly integrating extant and late Quaternary chemical data should be tractable as long as comparable sample processing routines are maintained. Consistent differences between extant and deeper time sporomorphs, however, suggests that classifying fossil specimens using extant training sets will be challenging. Further work is therefore required to understand and simulate the effects of diagenetic processes on sporopollenin chemistry.
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Isabelle Dubigeon Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, June 11, 2021 - 4:16:38 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, June 2, 2022 - 2:48:17 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Sunday, September 12, 2021 - 8:06:20 PM


Publisher files allowed on an open archive


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License



Phillip Jardine, Carina Hoorn, Maxine A.M. Beer, Natasha Barbolini, Amber Woutersen, et al.. Sporopollenin chemistry and its durability in the geological record: an integration of extant and fossil chemical data across the seed plants. Palaeontology, Wiley, 2021, 64 (2), pp.285-305. ⟨10.1111/pala.12523⟩. ⟨insu-03146419⟩



Record views


Files downloads