Single Grain Technique

(ZETTER 1989, FERGUSON et al. 2007)

For fossil pollen grains a combined LM/ SEM investigation should be used. After the LM investigation the same acetolyzed pollen grain is transferred to the SEM.

After extracting the pollen grains from the sediment, the samples undergo acetolysis (chlorination plus acetylation as described above). Glycerine is then added to the organic residue to form a suspension and a drop transferred to a glass slide. Using a dissecting needle to which a nasal hair has been affixed, grains of particular interest are brushed to the edge of the glycerine, where they can be picked up and transferred to another glass slide for photography under the LM. Because no cover slip is used, it is possible to photograph the same grain in various orientations. After this, the pollen is transferred to an SEM stub to which a drop of absolute ethanol has been added to remove all traces of the glycerine from the surface of the pollen grains, so that these can be examined in great detail under the SEM.

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