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Infrared Spectroscopy of Biological Applications: An Overview

Biomolecules Analysis

  1. Barbara H. Stuart

Published Online: 15 JUN 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9780470027318.a0208.pub2

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry

How to Cite

Stuart, B. H. 2012. Infrared Spectroscopy of Biological Applications: An Overview. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .

Author Information

  1. University of Technology, Associate Professor, School of Chemistry and Forensic Science, Sydney, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUN 2012


Infrared spectroscopy has proved to be a powerful tool for the study of biological molecules, including proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids. This spectroscopic approach enables such molecules to be identified and changes to their chemical structures to be characterized. The application of this technique to biological problems is continually expanding, particularly with the advent of increasingly sophisticated sampling techniques associated with Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Biological systems, including animal and plant tissues, microbial cells, clinical samples, and food, have all been successfully studied using infrared spectroscopy. In particular, recent decades have seen a rapid expansion in the number of studies of more complex systems, such as diseased tissues. This article reviews the sampling methods available for biological molecules. The interpretation of infrared data, both qualitatively and quantitatively, for such systems is covered. The specific information to be obtained from the main types of biological molecules is detailed, and the application of biological infrared spectroscopy is reviewed.