Spatially resolved determination of the structure and composition of diatom cell walls by Raman and FTIR imaging

Kammer, Martin; Hedrich, René; Ehrlich, Hermann; Popp, Jürgen; Brunner, Eike; Krafft, Christoph
September 2010
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Sep2010, Vol. 398 Issue 1, p509
Academic Journal
Vibrational spectroscopic imaging has developed into a versatile tool to study the local composition of various materials. Here, we present for the first time that Raman mapping and Fourier transform infrared imaging are useful tools to study diatom cell walls as is demonstrated for the species S tephanopyxis turris. The unicellular diatoms exhibit intricately micro- and nano-patterned cell walls, which consist of amorphous silica as well as various organic and inorganic constituents, thus making up an extremely interesting inorganic/organic hybrid material. The structure and composition of this material as well as the biochemical and biophysical processes leading to its formation remain to be challenges for ongoing research. Whereas the lateral resolution of Fourier transform infrared imaging is limited to 5 μm by diffraction, Raman maps are shown to be capable of detecting the spatial distribution of the silica as well as an additional inorganic component and the organic material down to 330-nm resolution. Due to the spherical shape of the sample with a radius of 40 μm and the requirement to accurately focus the laser before each Raman measurement within the micrometer range, Raman maps of whole diatom cell walls were registered after an adjustment of the axial position. The results reveal local differences in the cell wall composition of the honeycomb-like structures and the bottom layer.


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