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Confocal Raman microscope mapping as a tool to describe different mineral and organic phases at high spatial resolution within marine biogenic carbonates: case study on Nerita undata (Gastropoda, Neritopsina)

Author(s): G. Nehrke | J. Nouet

Journal: Biogeosciences
ISSN 1726-4170

Volume: 8;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 3761;
Date: 2011;
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Marine biogenic carbonates formed by invertebrates (e.g. corals and mollusks) represent complex composites of one or more mineral phases and organic molecules. This complexity ranges from the macroscopic structures observed with the naked eye down to sub micrometric structures only revealed by micro analytical techniques. Understanding to what extent and how organisms can control the formation of these structures requires that the mineral and organic phases can be identified and their spatial distribution related. Here we demonstrate the capability of confocal Raman microscopy applied to cross sections of a shell of Nerita undata to describe the distribution of calcite and aragonite including their crystallographic orientation with high lateral resolution (~300 nm). Moreover, spatial distribution of functional groups of organic compounds can be simultaneously acquired, allowing to specifically relate them to the observed microstructures. The data presented in this case study highlights the possible new contributions of this method to the description of modalities of Nerita undata shell formation, and what could be expected of its application to other marine biogenic carbonates. Localization of areas of interest would also allow further investigations using more localized methods, such as TEM that would provide complementary information on the relation between organic molecules and crystal lattice.

Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona

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