Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 184, Issue 10, pp 6025–6036 | Cite as

Monitoring of marine mucilage formation in Italian seas investigated by infrared spectroscopy and independent component analysis

  • Mauro Mecozzi
  • Marco Pietroletti
  • Michele Scarpiniti
  • Rita Acquistucci
  • Marcelo Enrique Conti


The aim of this study is to present and to discuss some characteristics of recalcitrant organic matter mechanism and formation. These aggregates called mucilages that are produced by the degradation reactions of several algae, have been investigated by infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. FTIR spectra of macroaggregates produced by different algal samples have been daily collected in order to investigate the steps of aggregation. Afterwards, they have been elaborated by means of Independent Component Analysis (ICA). ICA investigation of FTIR spectra showed that the global aggregation process of marine mucilage always consisted of two different phases or independent components (ICs). One IC is related to the first degradation step of algal cells leading to the production of mono and oligosaccharides with aminoacids and oligopeptides. The second IC is related to the polymerization of oligosaccharides with aminoacids and oligopeptides and to their interaction with less polar compounds such as lipids thus producing supramolecular structures. The emerging mechanisms of anomalous size aggregates of organic matter match those of natural organic matter aggregation. The approach we suggest is to use synthetic mucilages which allows to monitor the macroaggregates formation because it can hardly be performed by means of natural marine macroaggregates.


Marine mucilage Humification Independent component analysis 



This study was jointly supported by projects prot. C26F08CSN5 (2008) and C26F09TP2K (2009) by Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. The authors are grateful to the peer review assistance, which highly contributed to improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mauro Mecozzi
    • 1
  • Marco Pietroletti
    • 1
  • Michele Scarpiniti
    • 2
  • Rita Acquistucci
    • 3
  • Marcelo Enrique Conti
    • 4
  1. 1.Laboratory of Chemometrics and Environmental Applications, ISPRARomeItaly
  2. 2.INFOCOM Department‘Sapienza’ University of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.INRAN, National Institute for Research on Food and NutritionRomeItaly
  4. 4.Department of ManagementUniversity of RomeRomeItaly

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