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USING CONFOCAL LASER SCANNING MICROSCOPY TO IMAGE TRICHOME INCLUSIONS IN AMBER

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      Abstract

      Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) is an analytical technique usually applied to biological and medical samples. It is used to produce high resolution in-focus three dimensional images of thick sections by targeted fluorescence. Trichomes held in amber fluoresce in the far red range whereas amber fluoresces in the ultraviolet. This allows the trichomes to be resolved easily from the amber by CLSM. Samples of amber from two regions were selected for analysis. Baltic amber (Eocene) is well known for its trichome inclusions which have, in the past, been used as a diagnostic feature of that amber. Mexican amber (Middle Miocene) from Simijovel, Chiapas, Mexico also contains abundant trichomes. Samples of amber from both these locations were successfully imaged and re-constructed in 3D using CLSM. This technique enables detailed analysis of the trichome structure without damaging the sample.

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      Most cited references 11

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      The Role of Trichomes in Plant Defense

       Donald Levin (1973)
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        Age and Paleogeographical Origin of Dominican Amber

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          A new proposal concerning the botanical origin of Baltic amber.

          Baltic amber constitutes the largest known deposit of fossil plant resin and the richest repository of fossil insects of any age. Despite a remarkable legacy of archaeological, geochemical and palaeobiological investigation, the botanical origin of this exceptional resource remains controversial. Here, we use taxonomically explicit applications of solid-state Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) microspectroscopy, coupled with multivariate clustering and palaeobotanical observations, to propose that conifers of the family Sciadopityaceae, closely allied to the sole extant representative, Sciadopitys verticillata, were involved in the genesis of Baltic amber. The fidelity of FTIR-based chemotaxonomic inferences is upheld by modern-fossil comparisons of resins from additional conifer families and genera (Cupressaceae: Metasequoia; Pinaceae: Pinus and Pseudolarix). Our conclusions challenge hypotheses advocating members of either of the families Araucariaceae or Pinaceae as the primary amber-producing trees and correlate favourably with the progressive demise of subtropical forest biomes from northern Europe as palaeotemperatures cooled following the Eocene climate optimum.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [Hunterian Museum, University of Glasgow, University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK ]
            [Neuroscience & Biomedical Systems, Faculty of Biological and Life Science, University of Glasgow, University Avenue, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK ]
            Journal
            16465806
            JOURNAL OF PALEONTOLOGICAL TECHNIQUES
            GEAL, Museu da Lourinha (Portugal )
            1646-5806
            2010
            : 8
            : 1-8
            © 2010 Clark and Daly

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License

            CC BY 3.0

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