FTIR and Raman analysis of pollen

Research Council of Norway

IS-DAAD – Norway-Germany research collaboration project
Project No: 233941
Period covered - start date: 01/01/2014
Period covered - end date: 31/12/2015
Project Administrator: Achim Kohler
Collaboration: Humboldt University of Berlin and Norwegian University of Life Sciences
HUB collaboration: Janina Kneipp


Recent developments in highly sensitive spectrometers have paved the way for Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Raman spectroscopy to become prominent low-cost and high-throughput methods for biochemical characterization of pollen samples. Both methods can provide simple, rapid, and comprehensive chemical analysis of pollen. Vibrational spectra of pollen contain specific signals of lipids, proteins, carbohydrates and water, and even some minor biochemical constituents of pollen, such as carotenoids, can be successfully measured by these techniques. In general the two spectroscopies are complementary, with the strong signals in the infrared spectrum of a sample corresponding to weak signals in the Raman and vice versa. Therefore, vibrational spectra serve as a fingerprint of pollens’ overall biochemical composition and thereby their quality and physiological status.

Within the proposed research the influence of climate and geography on biochemical content of pollen will be estimated by comparing data of pollen samples collected in Germany and Norway. The research was based on pollen samples from Fagales plant order. These widespread species, such as Alnus (alder), Corylus (hazel), Betula (birch), and Quercus (oak), create huge amounts of wind-dispersed pollen grains that are strong allergens. Contemporary studies have shown that the temperature-dependent oscillations of plant phenology due to global climate changes have been most profound in the early spring period. Therefore, the study includes species with early flowering patterns that, owing to climate difference, have separated pollination seasons in Norway and Germany. Each collected sample was divided, and duplicates were exchanged between the research groups: for FTIR spectroscopy in Norway by the NMBU group, and for Raman spectroscopy in Germany by the group at the Humboldt University of Berlin.



Bağcıoğlu M., Kohler A., Seifert S., Kneipp J., Zimmermann B.* (2016)
Monitoring of plant-environment interactions by high throughput FTIR spectroscopy of pollen.
Methods in Ecology and Evolution 8 (2017) 870-880

Published 15. February 2016 - 19:44 - Updated 28. May 2019 - 13:55