Microwave Processing of Sediment Samples

  • Dawn Lavoie
  • Janet Watkins
  • Yoko Furukawa
Part of the Springer Protocols Handbooks book series (SPH)


Microfabric is the three-dimensional spatial arrangement of sediment grains and pore space in marine sediments. In addition to the mineral particles, consideration of the fluid-filled voids is essential for understanding sedimentological properties, such as permeability. Traditional tools and techniques limit the study of sediment microfabric. With the advent of high-resolution electron microscopy, microfabric relationships can be directly imaged and quantified. Unfortunately, transmission electron microscope (TEM) sample preparation techniques are generally time-consuming processes requiring the replacement of pore fluid (seawater) with hydrophobic resin, through multiple serial dilutions. During the preparation and handling process, some degree of microfabric disturbance is unavoidable. To alleviate this problem, the authors have adapted a clinical, biological microwave (MW) technique for the preparation of sediment samples. The MW technique is rapid, and introduces little disturbance during processing.


Pore Space Sedimentary Organic Matter Planktonic Foraminifera Sample Preparation Technique Transmission Electron Microscope Examination 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Baerwald RJ, Burkett PJ, Bennett RH (1991) Techniques for the preparation of submarine sediments for electron microscopy. In Bennett RH, Bryant WR, Hulbert MH, eds. Micro structure of Fine-Grained Sediments, From Mud to Shale. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp. 309–320.Google Scholar
  2. Bennett RH (1976) Clay fabric and geotechnical properties of selected submarine sediment cores from the Missippi river delta. Ph.D. thesis, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett RH, Lavoie DL, Sawyer W, Hunter N, Meyer M, Kennedy C, et al. (1995) Biogeotechnical and biogeochemical properties of sediments from Chesapeake Bay: mass physical and mechanical properties of sediments near the mouth of the Patuxent River, NRL/PU/7430-95-0008. SSC, MS 39529.Google Scholar
  4. Bentley SJ, Nittrouer CA (1997) Environmental influences on the formation of sedimentary fabric in a fine-grained carbonate-shelf environment: Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys. Geo-Marine Lett 17:268–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Furukawa Y, Lavoie D, Stephens K (1997) Effect of biogeochemical diagenesis on sediment fabric in shallow marine carbonate sediments near the Dry Tortugas, Florida. Geo-Marine Lett 17:283–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Giberson RT, Demaree RS Jr., Nordhausen RW (1997) Four-hour Processing of clinical-diagnostic specimens for electron microscopy using microwave technique. J Vet Diagn Invest 9:61–67.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Stephens KP, Fleischer P, Lavoie DL, Brunner C (1997) Scale-dependent physical and geoacoustic property variability of shallow-water carbonate sediments from the Dry Tortugas, Florida. Geo-Marine Lett 17:299–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ted Pella (1997) Microwave-assisted rapid processing protocol for electron microscopy, Redding, CA 96003-1448. Available from Ted Pella, Redding, CA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dawn Lavoie
    • 1
  • Janet Watkins
    • 2
  • Yoko Furukawa
    • 1
  1. 1.Naval Research LaboratoryStennis Space Center
  2. 2.GB Tech Inc., Naval Research LaboratoryStennis Space Center

Personalised recommendations