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The identification of phytoplankton pigments from absorption spectra

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The absorption spectra of photosynthetic algae are characterized by a continuous envelope, which is a result of the overlapping spectra of the indivual pigments. This feature makes it difficult to estimate the contribution of each pigment to the total absorption spectra. Derivative analysis is an objective tool for isolating absorption peaks in phytoplankton. Theoretically, electrons and ions of interacting molecules can be regarded as simple harmonic oscillators in an electromagnetic field, which result in a Lorentzian shape. However, when measured by an optical spectrophotometer the signal is transformed into a Gaussian curve. Thus, a combination of both types of curve provides a realistic approach to the decomposition of absorption spectra. In this study derivative analysis is performed on absorption spectra in order to prove that the method can be successfully used to identify the individual absorption spectra of component pigments. The spectra used are modelled phytoplankton, spectrophotometric measurements of algal cultures and samples from natural waters. A combination of Gaussian-Lorentzian shaped curves, centred on the identified peaks, were compared with the original spectra and showed good agreement.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico 2: Southampton Institute 3: University of Southampton

Publication date: 2001-01-20

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