Using SG06 Special Blend

Before use, the SG06 Special Blend needs to be thoroughly mixed using the supplied magnetic stirrer. This step is facilitated by the very similar density/specific gravity values of marker grains and medium, which also prevents centrifugal sorting from occurring.

A suitable amount of the homogeneous suspension is then added to the volume- or weight- measured sediments. Ideally, in order to obtain absolute pollen concentration measurements with sufficient precision, the number of added Palynospheres™ grains should be greater than the number of fossil pollen grains within the sample. The standard procedure for pollen extraction can then be applied without any modification.

Palynospheres™ can be used with all types of chemicals typically utilized in microfossil extraction. Ideally, the recovery rate of fossil pollen grains, as well as that of the Palynospheres™, should not vary according to the extraction methods. This, however, can be quantitatively checked by the recently proposed standard sample method for microfossils [1]. Palynospheres™ can be used for any analyses of microfossils which are of a corresponding size to the marker grains.

The absolute pollen concentration can be calculated using the following equation:

pollen concentration per unit volume: c (grains/cm3)

c = p/a × dv/g

pollen concentration per unit mass: (grains/g)

= p/m × dv/g

where p is the number of pollen counts (grains), a is the volume of sediment sample (cm3), d is the concentration of the marker grain suspension (grains/cm3), v is the added marker grain suspension volume (cm3), g is the number of marker grains counted with pollen grains (grains), and m is the sample mass (g).

When the sediment accumulation rate s (cm/yr) is known, the pollen flux N (grains/yr·cm2) can be calculated using the following equation:

N = c×s

If two sizes of marker grains mixed at a known ratio were used (which is typically the case when using SG06 Special Blend, but can also be achieved by using a customized mixture prepared by users from dry powders), then one can check whether sorting (preferential recovery of large or small pollen) occurred during sample preparation.


  1. Nakagawa T, Kitagawa H, Payne R, Tarasov P, Demske D (2013) A standard sample method for controlling microfossil data precision: A proposal for higher data quality and greater opportunities for collaboration. Quaternary International 290–291: 239–244.
  2. Nakagawa T. & Kitaba, I. (2017) Black ceramic spheres as marker grains for microfossil analyses, with improved chemical, physical, and optical properties. Quaternary International 455: 166–169.

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