Title

A comparison of heavy liquid floatation and microwave digestion techniques for the extraction of fossil phytoliths from sediments

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Parr, JF 2002, 'A comparison of heavy liquid floatation and microwave digestion techniques for the extraction of fossil phytoliths from sediments', Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, vol. 120, no. 3-4, pp. 315-336.

Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology home page available at www.elsevier.com/locate/revpalbo

Publisher's version of article available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0034-6667(01)00138-5

Abstract

This paper reports the results of a comparative analysis of two techniques used for the extraction of fossil phytoliths from sediments. The first is a standard heavy liquid floatation extraction technique that has been successfully used and proven to provide reliable phytolith assemblage data. A second technique using a Perkin-Elmer Multiwave Microwave Sample Preparation System is introduced, and the results are compared to those of the conventional technique. Results for both techniques, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of their use are discussed. This study provides an introduction to an alternative technique for the extraction of fossil phytoliths and possibly starch grains from sediments. The microwave technique is fast, inexpensive, omits the need for heavy liquid floatation and most importantly results in the appropriation of interpretable and replicable fossil phytolith assemblage data.

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