We tested the potential of a portable Raman spectrometer RaPort (G) by EnSpectr with a 532-nm laser for use in field detection of biomarkers of endolithic colonization in gypsum. In this study, variously colored layers were found and screened separately on the outcrop under natural conditions in Sicily where such outcrops are widespread. In the recorded Raman spectra, stretching vibrations of carotenoids were observed— ν1 (C=C) around 1,513 cm-1, and ν2 (C‒C) around 1,154 cm-1, as well as the feature at around 1,005 cm-1. The exact identification of different carotenoids by a portable Raman spectrometer is limited. Nevertheless, the portable Raman spectrometer allowed fast and in situ detection of carotenoids of variously pigmented gypsum endolithic colonization. Application of miniature Raman instruments in the detection of biomarkers in situ conditions is important in the context of forthcoming astrobiological missions to Mars (Exomars and Mars 2020).
Němečková K., Jehlička J., Culka A. (2020): Fast screening of carotenoids of gypsum endoliths using portable Raman spectrometer (Messinian gypsum, Sicily). Journal of Raman Spectroscopy 51, 1127-1136. (DOI)